Figures released this week by the Road Safety Authority shows a massive backlog of applications for driving tests.
77,419 applicants across the country are either waiting for a date for their test, or to sit their scheduled test.
The RSA aims to have a national average waiting time for a driving test of no longer than 10 weeks, however this target depends on the number of applications received.
Waiting times at Donegal’s two NDLS centres, in Letterkenny and Donegal Town, are almost double the RSA’s 10 week goal.
In Letterkenny, the average waiting time is 18 weeks, with the longest wait time being 20 weeks.
18.5 weeks is the average time for an applicant to be given a driving test in Donegal Town, with 24 weeks being the longest wait time.
The longest waiting times nationally are in Loughrea and Clonmel, where learners can expect to wait up to 21 weeks for a driving test.
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster highlighted the statistics this week, saying it is “unacceptable.”
“This situation has been ongoing for a long time. It beggars belief that it has not been remedied to date,” Deputy Munster says.
“The Road Safety Authority (RSA) have told me in a response to a Parliamentary Question on the matter that the situation has worsened in the past 18 months due to retirements from the service. Twenty three driver testers have been recruited since 2016, yet the waiting list is still unacceptably long.”
Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue has previously called for an NDLS Centre to be established in Inishowen as people living in Carndonagh, Malin and Culdaff have to travel over 60km to Letterkenny to apply for or renew their driving licences.
The addition of another NDLS centre would reduce these waiting times for Donegal applicants.
The Fianna Fáil TD says: “While the NDLS system makes sense, there are only 34 centres in the country and counties like Donegal, which have a huge geographical spread, are at a major disadvantage.
“The locations of NDLS centres were originally decided on the basis that 95% of the population would be within 50km of a centre. However, more than 50% of the population of Donegal live more than 50km from Letterkenny. In fact, residents in Carndonagh, Malin and Culdaff have to travel well over 60km to get to Letterkenny.
“Disappointingly, despite these concerns, an NDLS centre for Inishowen appears unlikely.”Tags: