The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has confirmed that it would take 20 weeks to clear the driving test backlog created by COVID-19 related lockdowns.
It was also revealed that another 80,000 people are waiting on the driver theory test. according to figures supplied to the Oireachtas by the RSA.
Driving tests are being offered to frontline workers under Level 5 restrictions, while theory tests have not been deemed an essential service.
Fine Gael TD Emer Higgins believes more investment should be put into the RSA to help clear the backlog:
"I think we need to be investing in it and innovating. There are 62,000 people waiting on the driving test itself. That waiting time is going to be something in and around four months, and that's if we start testing tomorrow.
And that's despite the RSA recruiting 40 extra driving testers which are coming on stream in the next weeks and months.
"I think we could think about things a little bit innovatively. Look at temporarily drafting assistance from Dublin Bus testers, they could perhaps be seconded or redeployed to help that backlog.
Higgins further stated that the RSA is trialling an online driving test for bus and truck drivers whose work is considered essential.
As the organisation is examining ways to do 50,000 tests a month, it is also trialling a remote service called ProProctor to sort out the backlog, "so things are going in the right direction," Higgins said.
Main image: A vehicle of the research project "Urban Smart Park" is driving autonomously through the streets during a press meeting during a test drive with a security driver on its way to a free parking space, in order to park autonomously afterwards. Photo: Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa