There are currently over 120,000 people waiting to take the theory test.
Irish driving instructor Kevin Horgan from Ladybird Driving School in Dublin has said that the backlog of driving tests could take between two to three years to fix. There are currently over 60,000 people waiting to do their driving test and over 120,000 people waiting to do their theory test in Ireland due to a backlog created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking on Ireland AM on Thursday, Horgan said that even if the nearly 70,000 people waiting to take the theory test passed it today, it would be unlikely that they would be able to get on the roads until after 2022. "The logistics behind it are, that we have about 180,000 candidates waiting to do the driving test, and we've got about 70,000 waiting to do the theory test," he said. "If the theory test candidates pass their test today, by law they can only sit their test in six months’ time - which will be January, February, March, next year.
"That's the 70,000 doing the test in 2022. So, then we've got the 180,000 who are waiting to get a date for their test and they're held up capacity-wise because they just don't have the date yet with the RSA."
Horgan added that while the Department of Transport has issued measures to try and improve the situation, there is still a significant lack of instructors within the country. The instructor is also calling on the Government to allow non-essential workers to begin driving lessons and tests again. "Across the country, there is not enough instructors actually, there are about 1,750 instructors in total, but about 1,000 are full time so we need to address that," he continued. "We're just calling for the non-essentials to be allowed back as well."
Last month, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) opened online theory tests for people who are sitting exams to get a learner permit for a bus or a truck. However, the assessments will expand to include theory tests for cars in the coming months. RSA Spokesman Brian Farrell told Mid-West Radio that they are hoping to accommodate 4,000 tests a month but are still hoping to reopen physical test centres in the near future. "We hope to have a monthly output of about 4,000 tests a month, but it won't be until later in the year that we can accommodate significant numbers of online theory tests," he said. "That's why it really is the reopening of the actual physical test centres, where we can deliver 50,000 tests a month, that the solution lies for the theory tests." From 10 May ‘essential workers’ have been allowed to undertake Essential Driver Training (EDT) lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor.
EDT lessons apply to any essential workers as well as people who already began their lessons before new restrictions came into place.
See full article from Joe.ie click here
The Road Safety Authority is planning to allow driving instructors to sit in on the test itself. The initial pilot of the changes will take place in Waterford and Thurles over a 6-week period. In a letter from the RSA to driving instructors said they plan to proceed with the trial changes from 23 March to 1 May. The RSA confirmed the move, saying that the objective was to bring together training and assessment.
Training and assessment
It added that: “The objective of this initiative is to bring together two very important stages in a candidate’s learning to drive experience – their training and assessment.” Instructors will not be allowed to interfere in the test and are intended to be there only to observe or as support. Strict sanctions are said to be in place for any instructors breaching these rules.
The main aims of the changes are to reduce the amount of complaints from those who fail the test and the amount of appeals. It also aims to provide further insights for the instructors into why their students are failing.
Tipperary instructor Linda Dowling said she is happy with the trial being in her area. As instructors we’ve been looking for this facility for a long time. Sometimes with our pupils this, that or the other happens on the test and it’s unusual for that person to do that. We don’t know whether it’s nerves or whether they have actually made those mistakes so if there is an extra pair of eyes in the car we can say ‘oh yes I saw you do that there.
Read the full article on the Journal.ie or follow this link.
Minister Eamon Ryan T.D. and Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton T.D. at the Department of Transport, today 10/08/2020 have announced details of a further extension to the validity period of driving licences in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption it has caused to licensing services delivered by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
This now means that anyone, whose driving licence is or has expired between 1 March and 31 August 2020, will have its validity extended by seven months in total. This, in effect, means that a person whose driving licence expired on 10 March 2020 will have the life of this licence extended to 10 October 2020, while a person whose licence expires on 15 August 2020 will have a new expiry date of 15 March 2021... Read Full Text Here
The RSA issued a press release relation to the gradual resumption of services. Coronavirus (COVID – 19)
The Driver Testing Service resumed services on Monday 29 June 2020. The service is resuming on a gradual basis with bus, truck and motorcycle tests starting on 29 June, driving tests for cars are expected to resume in mid to late July. Initially 14 driving test centres are opening, will all test centres gradually be reopening in the coming weeks. You can find further information on the resumption of the driver testing service and Covid-19 measures here
Driver Theory Test (DTT)
The Driver Theory Test resumed its service on Monday 8 June 2020, you can find further information on Covid-19 measures and how to book a driver theory test here. See theorytest.ie to make a booking and for more details.
National Driver Licence Service (NDLS)
The National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) resumed services on Monday 8 June 2020. The service resumed on a gradual basis and by Monday 29 June all NDLS centres, except Clifden and Belmullet, had reopened. You can find further information on the resumption of the NDLS service, Covid-19 measures, how to book an appointment and the extension of the validity of the expiry date of licences and learner permits here Please see ndls.ie to book an appointment and for all other information relating to the National Driver Licence Service.
National Car Testing Service (NCTS)
Following the Government announcement triggering Phase 3 resumption of services the National Car Testing Service have announced the reopening of further 16 testing centres from Monday 29 June. See here for more detail.
Vehicle owners are reminded of the 4 month test extension. The National Car Testing Service (NCTS) has now updated all records for those customers’ vehicles that qualified for the 4 month test extension as announced by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross in April.
What’s is the New Normal…
for Driving Lessons
Welcome back to driver tuition however, not as we know it. Remembering to stay safe is your responsibility and you now must follow the RSA ADI units’ guidelines for hygiene etiquette for the coronavirus under health & safety. You and your vehicle must comply with all aspects of Health & Safety with vehicle sanitation products, hand gels, face coverings and disposable seat covers etc.,
albeit, your back in business however, coronavirus has not gone away?
As a Minimum You will Have to…
Driving schools need to create their own COVID19 back to work “Sanitation Etiquette” and clearly state this for the public to read on advertisements, websites and social media platforms etc... Also, on the initial lesson appointment contact, over the phone or by email etc.,
Initial / Welcome Questions
The pupil should be asked if they have had the virus, have they been close to anyone with the virus, have they been in contact with anyone who has been traced and contacted by the HSE. Also ask, do they feel okay, do they have a temperature of 38 degrees or above, do they have a persistent cough or shortness of breath. (See HSE Website)
Before the Driving Lesson Begins
The following are some suggestions for sanitation solutions before and after driving lessons. See RSA ADI unit website or emails for more information and will be guided by the RSA and the HSE in relation to best practice.
Issued for information purposed only. If we have left anything out on this maybe make your comment.
The RSA released a press release on June 12th 2020 entitled Resumption of some RSA services from Monday 8 June 2020. An excerpt is as follows relating to ADI's and retrofitting or adapting vehicles
Read the full article here
An excerpt is as follows relating to ADI's and retrofitting or adapting vehicles Driving Lessons with Approved Driving Instructors. Please contact your approved driving instructor directly to enquire if there is any interruption to their service
The RSA cannot issue medical guidance to ADIs on COVID 19 and how they operate their businesses. As they are not RSA employees, ADIs should protect themselves, their families, and communities by following the official Government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing.
As mostly sole traders each ADI has an individual responsibility for their own welfare and that of their families and customers. In essence the RSA cannot dictate if an ADI can continue to trade.
While the RSA has taken the decision to suspend driving assessments, the continued provision of driver tuition can only be taken by the individual ADI taking into account their own personal circumstances.
RSA’s guidance on fitting Perspex panels or other physical barriers to the interior
of a vehicle during the Covid19 pandemic
If you are considering fitting your vehicle with perspex panels or any other physical barriers during the Covid19 pandemic, you should contact the vehicle’s original manufacturer or authorised distributor. They are best placed to advise if there are any safety implications or if it is possible to carry out the proposed fitting without affecting the performance of the vehicle’s safety features, e.g. airbags etc. You must also ensure that such any installation does not present a danger to the driver, occupants, or any other road user. It is important to remember that, under Irish road traffic regulations it is the responsibility of the owner and or driver to ensure that their vehicle is maintained in a roadworthy condition at all times when used in a public place.
Glazing for motor vehicles must meet with the requirements of UNECE Regulation 43 - Uniform provisions concerning the approval of safety glazing materials and their installation on vehicles. This Regulation sets out standards for safety glazing materials intended for installation as windscreens or other panes, or as partitioning. See extract below taken from this regulation regarding the general requirements for safety glazing.
All glazing materials, including glazing material for the manufacture of windscreens, shall be such that, in the event of shattering, the danger of bodily injury is reduced as far as possible. The glazing material shall be sufficiently resistant to the incidents likely to occur in normal traffic, and to atmospheric and temperature conditions, chemical action, combustion, and abrasion.
Safety glazing materials shall in addition be sufficiently transparent, shall not cause any noticeable distortions of objects as seen through the windscreen, and shall not give rise to any confusion between the colours used in road-traffic signs and signals. In the event of the windscreen's shattering, the driver shall still be able to see the road clearly enough to be able to brake and stop his vehicle safely.
Please note the regular light transmittance in the case of a windscreen and other glazing that is located in a position requisite for driving visibility shall not be less than 70%. It should be noted that if such panels or glazing is being fitted to a vehicle that is used for ‘hire and reward’ i.e. commercial purposes it is classed as a work place environment and will be governed by health and safety legislation.
It may be useful to contact the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) for information on additional health and safety / legal obligations that arise on this issue. See here their webpage on Driving for Work and their contact details here The RSA also refers you to the HSE Coronavirus- COVID-19 Public Health Advice and Guidance as per the following link; https://www2.hse.ie/conditions/coronavirus/coronavirus.html
Issued June 12th, 2020 by the RSA.
Please follow this link to the complete article on the RSA Page
For those that may have missed it. An article appeared in the Irish Sun where Dara Browne reports of the progress or lack of it for Ireland’s ADI’s with the Heading BACK ON THE ROAD
Coronavirus in Ireland. (10 Jun 2020, 16:54) Follow this link to view the article. Opens a new page.
Among other aspects discussed in this article, Minister for Transport Shane Ross is quoted as stating
Some Road Safety Authority services - including the National Driver Licence Service, the Driver Theory Test, and the National Car Testing Service - began reopening on a gradual basis from June 8. But there are still "issues to overcome" in order for the Driver Testing Service to return, Transport Minister Shane Ross said. Earlier this week, he stated:
"While I do see the possibility of truck, bus and motorcycle testing resuming, in Phase 3, there are issues to overcome to recommence car driving tests. "These challenges include maintaining social distancing as a car driving test means close contact in an enclosed space between the driver tester and the learner driver for periods in excess of 15 minutes. "I can assure learner drivers that officials in my Department and the RSA are looking at all available options to get car driving tests started again as soon as possible."
No disclosures have been announced by the RSA however, there is little reasoning why Truck, Bus and Motorcyclists test cannot be conducted. Cars are problematic, because of the close proximity of the instructor or tester and the pupil… So social distancing will not work, even if it was reduced to the WHO recommendation of 1 metre.
That said a tester could travel in the back of the car with the ADI, allowed to ride shotgun in the front. Thus, maintaining to the letter of the law, as the learner would still have a fully qualified driver beside them during the driving test however, with the ADI playing no hand act, or part in the driving test.
This system is currently being used and is proven, within the ADI check Test system, where the tester rides in the back and evaluates the ADI and operates very well.
In the absence of any clarification or instruction for ADI’s to prepare, so what is the most likely outcome in the preparation for a return to driver tuition and testing.
Other conditions could be that a small questionnaire to the pupil, prior to entry to the vehicle to the pupil from a social distance ask.
So, before proceeding with any of the undermentioned, our advice is to wait for the full list of recommendations from the RSA ADI unit, who will have liaised with the HSE.
Also bearing in mind that the RSA are still accepting all test applications which will lead to additional waiting times, will mean that ADI will be busy well into 2021 and beyond, and in addition the RSA may well need additional driving testers employed. So, in the interest of clarity and forward planning the time is now for ADI’s to plan and get back to doing what they do best…. Training drivers with a life skill.
Unfortunately, the Industry does not have a representative body similar to other industries that have put the case forward on their behalf. It appears that the ADI unit is free to ignore the individual ADI calls for a planned and sensible re-opening of the industry or progress thereof.
It appears that the ADI is left in the dark and does not have any influence on or within the ADI unit itself. This is something that should have been remedied many years ago as the ADI “forum” appears to be the RSA ADI Unit policing the RSA ADI Unit and is not directly answerable to the ADI for whom they act..
Wish to see the Irish Sun Article Click Here
Driver Protection Screens
As their is still no indication when our industry is getting back to business and no plans as to how you can protect, your clients, driving testers and yourselves, so placing an investment without recommendations in vehicle screens maybe a waste of money and time, therefore we suggest you wait for guidance from the RSA.
However, that said, we have come across a website for you to consider or view what these screens look like in your tuition vehicle.... This company like many others, if you research, supply custom cut Driver Protection Screens, they say will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Taxis, Limos, Buses, Driving School Cars and more, these Protection Screens can fit in any vehicle and protect both the driver and the passengers.
They are made from clear, hygienic perspex.
We are not recommending that you go out and purchase these screens , not at least until the RSA comes out and recommends how ADI's proceed with the reopening of their businesses which is well overdue..
The supply cost for an average vehicle is around €349. For special requests or questions please make an enquiry
No Driving Tests undertaken with Social Distancing!!!!
There will be no early reopening of driving test centres, according to Minister for Transport Shane Ross. He told RTÉ's This Week programme that to carry out driving tests would be "a straight breach of social distancing guidelines".
He added: "It is very difficult to see a situation where driving tests will be introduced early because of the difficulties in people sitting beside each other."
"There is no way, in the average car, that you would have two people together without breaching social distancing guidelines."
"I don't intend to allow a breach of that. There are sacrifices that we all have to make, and discomforts that we all have to endure," he added.
Minister Ross also said he felt sympathy for young drivers who needed to get on the road for work, but that he would not allow them to drive unaccompanied on a provisional licence.
"That's a safety issue and it would be irresponsible for me to allow people who are on a provisional, and who haven't satisfied the requirements, to get a full licence to go on the road. I'm not going to do that. I am going to continue the rules as they are at the moment so that lives can be saved."
"I feel very sympathetic for the difficulties they are in. It would be wrong for them to drive when they are not qualified drivers because they might cause road deaths."
"I hope this event, Covid-19, isn't going to encourage people to take risks, because then we are allowing people to die for other reasons and that is not acceptable."
In April, the Government announced a four-month extension to learner permits which were due to expire between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020. The minister said the Government would keep any further extension of learner permits under review
Copyright : RTE Sunday, 17 May 2020 19:28
See report from RTE News here
COVID 19 ALERTS
Anything we find relating to Covid 19 and Driving Schools we will place here for your information. The following link is from the RSA Alert Page
Please Click This >>> Link to Go to the RSA Alert Page
From the Journal .ie
THE MINISTER FOR Transport may further extend the validity period for expired learner permits beyond 30 June, if Covid-19 restrictions continue to prevent driving tests from taking place.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio 1′s This Week this afternoon, Shane Ross said he would not allow provisional licences for learner drivers to be extended while Covid-19 restrictions prevent tests from taking place.
Driving tests have been suspended indefinitely since April and the validity of driving licences and NCT certificates has been extended under the Covid-19 emergency measures.
According to the National Driver Licence Service website, learner permits which expire from 1 March to 30 June have been extended by four months along with other licences.
However, learner permits can be renewed only after the holder books a driving test, with the system to do so currently suspended while tests are not taking place. Ross told RTÉ Radio that he expected driving tests would not return until most other coronavirus restrictions had been eased, particularly as conducting tests involves close contact between a driver and a tester. And he initially appeared to rule out extending learner permits until tests resumed because of safety fears.
“It’s absolutely a safety issue, and it would be irresponsible of me to allow people with provisional licences who haven’t actually satisfied the requirements of getting a full licence to go on the road,” he said. “I’m not going to do that. I’m going to continue with the rules as they are at the moment so that lives should be saved.
“Road deaths this year, very sadly, are actually up despite the fact that there are fewer cars on the roads and I’m looking at ways of reducing them again.”
A spokeswoman for the minister subsequently clarified that Ross meant that those on learner permits would not be given the same allowances as those on full licences without sitting their full test.
Under current laws, those who hold a learner permit may not drive a vehicle without being accompanied by a driver who has had their full licence for at least two years.
The spokeswoman also indicated that the four-month extension period currently in place for drivers whose permits expire between March and June would have to be considered if tests had not resumed by July. She added that the department’s decision would be guided by relevant health and safety advice at that time, as was the case with other parts of society.