MORE than 4,000 learner drivers are awaiting a test in Cork, with over 3,000 of them waiting for a test in one location.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire has called on the Minister for Transport to take decisive action to tackle the significant driving test backlog.
The Cork South Central TD has written to the Minister, urging him to seek a solution “as a matter of urgency”.
It comes as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed to Mr Ó Laoghaire that there are now 4,218 learner drivers waiting for a test in Cork.
“Throughout 2020, we called on successive Ministers for Transport to address this worsening crisis,” he said.
“Neither Minister Ryan nor Minister Ross before him took this problem seriously, and the situation has now greatly worsened.”
Mr Ó Laoghaire said the problem is “particularly bad” in Cork, with 732 learner drivers waiting for a test in Ballincollig, and an “incredible” 3,486 waiting for a test at Sarsfield Road.
Of those waiting at Sarsfield Road, 1,165 learner drivers have been waiting over nine months while 119 have been waiting over 18 months, and 61 people have been waiting for over two years,” he said.
“That is not good enough.
“This can’t be pushed down the agenda any longer. The minister isn’t treating this issue with the urgency it deserves.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil TD Aindrias Moynihan said he has received new figures which show that headway has been made in tackling the backlog in the delivery of the Driver Theory Test.
According to the RSA, the driver theory test is gradually resuming normal service and expects to be delivering 50,000 tests monthly from mid-August onward.
Mr Moynihan said that figures from June through August show a continued increase month-on-month for the delivery of both the centre-based theory test and online theory test.
The RSA said that over 6,000 online theory test slots are being made available for August and these are available on a first come first served basis.
“They also state that this level of activity means that there will be no substantial backlog by the end of October 2021,” Mr Moynihan said.