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Covid-19 continues to delay driving tests and NCT appointments


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Learner drivers are waiting on average 10 weeks to take a driving test, figures from the Road Safety Authority show. However, some are waiting much longer.

Currently 33,000 drivers are waiting to take their driving test and, with an average of 3,500 tests being done per week, the RSA said it would take 10 weeks to clear the current backlog.

It confirmed that eight of its 60 test centres have longer waiting times than 10 weeks, RTÉ reported.

Speaking to Morning Ireland, Declan Naughton, director of driver testing and licensing with the RSA, said the Drogheda test centre has the longest wait time in the country at 18 weeks for an invitation to choose an appointment.

He said at the peak of the pandemic wait times were up to six months and as Covid-19 rules continue to relax, the RSA will be able to provide extra capacity to under pressure test centres.

Other centres with long wait times include, Mulhuddart (16 weeks), Mulhuddart Carlton Hotel (14 weeks), Killester (14 weeks) and Galway (14 weeks).

According to the RSA, 21,000 people are waiting for their test to be scheduled, while 12,000 will sit the test over the next five to six weeks.

"Our target is to have an average wait of ten weeks waiting time and we achieved that during the last few weeks,” the RSA said in a statement.

"Projections made early last year had estimated it would be February 2022 before we reached that point..”

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It comes as there are currently 104,398 learners waiting to take the driving test.

Of those, 12,764 have appointments, 42,846 people were offered initial appointments but declined them, 27,375 are currently ineligible because they have not finished the mandatory number of lessons, while 21,413 are waiting for an invitation to select a date for the test

Meanwhile, of just over 200,000 driver theory tests which were carried out last year and approximately 170,000 were processed in last six months of 2021.

Despite concerns from driving instructors that the surge in theory test completions in the latter part of 2021 will cause delays towards the end of this year and in to 2023, the RSA said it can manage the demand.

Speaking on the same programme, Kevin Hogan, managing director of Ladybird Driving School in Dublin, said some of his clients have waited months to take their driving test.

"We have people who applied for their tests… one girl is waiting five months. Then there are candidates who are on the cancellation list who could get a test within four, five or six weeks,” he said.

"It is really a mixed bag but generally you are looking at least three months plus.”

Meanwhile, NCT appointments have also been impacted by Covid-19, with 15pc of 850 Applus Automotive staff absent, resulting in 4,400 cancellations and 1,700 no shows.

The company said said there are over 80,000 cars in Ireland overdue for an NCT test and appointments can be booked within 28 days if they are needed, with an average waiting time of 19 days.

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