Local TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has called for Minister Eamon Ryan to take decisive action to tackle the massive driving test backlog in Louth.
His comments come as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed to the party’s transport spokesperson, Darren O’Rourke, that there are now over 3,000 learner drivers waiting for a test in Dundalk and over 90,000 people waiting across the state.
The Louth TD said: ‘The RSA has confirmed to Deputy O’Rourke that there are now 93,791 people waiting for a driving test, with some constituents telling me they will be forced to wait well into 2021 for a test date.
‘This issue has been deteriorating all year. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has failed to take decisive action to tackle the growing backlog.
‘In fact, the number of people waiting for a test has increased by 70% since June of this year.
‘With public transport down to 25% capacity and sharing of lifts now not feasible due to Covid 19, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work.
‘It’s a huge issue for people in rural Ireland, where public transport simply isn’t an option.
‘The problem is particularly bad in our own county, with 1,740 learner drivers waiting just to get an appointment for a test in the centre in Dundalk.
‘In addition, the driver theory test has been suspended until early December, causing further delays for those needing to learn to drive.
‘There is a clear need for additional driving instructors and testers. Likewise, longer opening hours and weekend tests would go some way to address the lengthening backlog.
‘The Minister needs to urgently consult with instructors, testers and their unions to find a way forward to accelerate the number of tests that can be carried out safely over the coming months’.