Almost 1200 people are currently awaiting driving tests in Co Mayo, according to local Sinn Féin TD Rose Conway Walsh who has called on Minister Eamon Ryan to take decisive action to tackle the massive backlog.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has confirmed that there are currently 1,171 learner drivers waiting for a test in Mayo out of an overall national waiting list of over 90,000.
Deputy Conway Walsh stressed that the backlog has been deteriorating all year due to Minister Ryan’s inaction, with a 70% increase in the waiting list since last June.
“With public transport down to 25% capacity and sharing of lifts now not feasible due to Covid, this is causing massive problems for people who need a licence to get to work,” she remarked.
“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 447 learner drivers waiting for a test in the Ballina testing centre and 724 in the Castlebar testing centre.”
The TD noted that the suspension of driver theory tests until early December is further impacting delays and called for the appointment of additional driving instructors and testers together with longer test centre opening hours to include weekend tests to resolve the crisis.
“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,” she concluded.