Crackdown on unlicensed drivers will lead to driving test shortages

A CRACKDOWN on learner drivers could leave waiting times for driving tests of up to 68 weeks unless extra staff were hired, an internal briefing report warned the Department of Transport.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) said plans to fine and jail motorists who give their vehicles to unaccompanied learner drivers might lead to 150,000 extra driving tests.

In a “surge planning” report, they said they anticipated a huge spike in applications that could last for between a year and eighteen months.

They also warned there could be an upsurge in failure rates with some drivers attempting their test after years without having taken lessons.

According to internal documents, there were just over 247,000 people holding provisional licences and already waiting times for a test were running at 20 to 26 weeks at some centres.

The RSA had predicted what the changes might mean given a low, medium, or high volume of new applications for a driving test.

In their “high” scenario, 118,947 people would come looking for a test while another 29,737 people would fail and need another test.

That would leave them needing 148,684 additional tests, which would lead to average waiting times of 68 weeks without any intervention.

Read the full Report below