The Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan and the Minister of State with responsibility for road safety, Jack Chambers, have announced approval for 75 additional driver testers to be hired by the Road Safety Authority (RSA). This will bring the potential total number of testers to over 200 and address the current backlog in the Driver Testing Service.
This is in addition to the 30 extra testers who were previously sanctioned in July 2022 and have been fully deployed since end of March 2023. The testers will be recruited through open competition, and it is expected that new testers will be trained and ready to work from October of this year. With these new testers in place, customers will see improvements in their waiting times and the RSA expect the backlog of applicants to be returned to target customer service levels by the end of the first quarter of 2024.
Demand for driving tests is now at unprecedented levels, applications in 2022 were 28% higher than 2021 levels and 27% up on 2018 pre COVID-19 pandemic levels. The current demand for driving tests has a number of contributory factors, including: an increase in application volumes, with more learners applying for and becoming eligible to take their driving test since the start of 2022; increased capacity and take up of the Driver Theory Test; and an increase in Advanced Driving Instructors’ and their capacity to deliver lessons to learner drivers.
Speaking about the new testers, Minister Ryan said, “I am delighted to confirm that the RSA has received sanction to hire up to 75 additional driver testers to address the backlog that has arisen due to unprecedented demand in the driver testing service. These additional testers will enable the RSA to begin reversing the growing backlog. It is important to recognise that there are no quick fixes or easy solutions, but my department will continue to keep the situation under review.“
Minister of State Chambers said, “this approval for new testers for the RSA is a positive and proactive response to an ongoing problem within the Driver Testing Service across the state. By increasing the number of driver testers, the RSA can provide the testing service they are committed to delivering and a quality service each customer deserves. I would like to thank the public who have been patient while we manage these demand pressures on the service. The progress made in the driver testing service will be carefully monitored, and the RSA will work to provide as many tests as possible as safely as possible.”
Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority said, “I welcome this decision by the Ministers and would like to thank my colleagues for their support and dedication over this challenging period. Our team have worked very hard to support applicants during this busy time. We look forward to working with these new staff to bring our Driver Testing service to normal levels.”
The open recruitment campaign will go live on Tuesday 11 April. Once the recruitment process is complete, training will commence with successful candidates and new driver testers will begin testing in October.