Thursday, November 09, 2017

DRIVING test applicants in Carlow are being forced to wait an incredible six months to sit their driving test – the longest waiting time in the country.

Carlow’s Road Safety Authority (RSA) driving test centre, based in Graiguecullen, is experiencing a huge backlog of applicants, with official figures released to The Nationalist indicating the average wait time for Carlow as 18.5 weeks and up to 25 weeks in some cases. A spokesperson for the RSA confirmed that the driver testing service has seen increased waiting times nationally over the past year. It says that this is due to a sustained level of applications being received, alongside a reduction in driver tester numbers due to retirements.

“This is just unacceptable and something that needs to be urgently looked at,” said senator Jennifer Murnane O’Connor. “There’s a huge backlog across the country, but Carlow is one of the worst, with delays of up to 25 weeks. That’s just not good enough for people who are waiting for their driving licence maybe for work or students getting to college. It’s disgraceful.”

The RSA has confirmed that to meet increased demand nationally it has taken on an additional 17 driver testers since late 2016, with a further six driver testers to begin testing in early 2018.

“More broadly, the RSA is undertaking a review of our longer term needs in the driver testing service to ensure sufficient capacity in future,” a spokesperson said.

The RSA confirmed that, where possible, it will prioritise any urgent requests for a test and will also use cancellations that arise in the test schedule to facilitate urgent requests.

“Given that 15% of driving tests do not go ahead because the candidate simply fails to show up for the test, the RSA would appeal to any candidate that cannot attend for their test appointment to please contact the RSA and let us know if they cannot attend for a driving the test by phoning 1890 40 60 40. In this way, the test slot can be allocated to another candidate on the cancellation list,” said the spokesperson.

Furthermore, 5% of tests annually do not go ahead because the candidate does not have the correct documentation (valid learner permit, an in-date original insurance disc, tax, NCT) for the driving test to proceed.

“It’s important that driving test candidates take the time to read through the driving test checklist prior to their driving test date to ensure that they have met the requirements and that their test can be conducted when they get to the centre,” the spokesperson concluded.

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By Suzanne Pender
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