Macra na Feirme has called for a commitment from the government to reduce driving test waiting times, particularly in areas which are not serviced by alternative forms of transport.
377 vehicles driven by unaccompanied leaner drivers have been seized by Gardai since December. Commenting on this statistic, Macra na Feirme National President James Healy said, “Currently in some rural areas the waiting time for a driving test is five months, that is simply too long. Macra na Feirme understands why this law has been amended, but the government must show what they are doing to reduce waiting times.
“Both the Taoiseach and Transport Minister have accepted that current waiting times are too long, and the government is working to reduce them, but it would be useful to know how many new testers have been recruited to deal with the issue and when we can expect waiting times to normalise.”
A transport survey carried out by the Macra na Feirme Rural Youth Committee last year, found that 86% of Macra members required a private vehicle to commute to work, while just 21 % said they were satisfied with public transport in their area.
The same survey revealed that 34 % of respondents felt that inadequate access to transport hindered their employment opportunities.
The RSA (Road Safety Authority) aims for an average national waiting time of 10 weeks, but it’s almost double that in some rural areas currently. If a driver has a learner permit, they must be accompanied by an experienced driver. When they pass their test, they are then classified as a novice driver for two years but don’t require an accompanying driver.
“The majority of young people living in rural areas depend on their cars for college, work and day-to-day life, the law had been somewhat grey in the past about driving unaccompanied but now it is crystal clear. Similar clarity about how the government is tackling driving test wait times is essential.”