‘Insane’ driving test waiting lists increasing danger on Irish roads

RSA figures show that over 86,000 people are currently waiting for a driving test.
Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.44 1 Mar 2024

Share this article

‘Insane’ driving test waiting...

‘Insane’ driving test waiting lists increasing danger on Irish roads

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

13.44 1 Mar 2024

Share this article

‘Insane’ waiting times for driving tests are making Ireland’s roads more dangerous as learner drivers risk heading out alone rather than waiting for a test.

RSA figures show that over 86,000 people are currently waiting for a driving test.

Over 64,000 of these are waiting on an invitation to book and nearly 22,000 have a test scheduled.


The national average waiting time is now just under five months; however, in areas where there are high numbers of applications, the wait can be far longer.

'The system is broken'

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Next Level Driving School instructor David Langan said the situation is making the roads more dangerous.

“There's no quick fix,” he said.

“I think the system is broken from the whole learning to drive point of view – I think the whole system needs to be looked at.

“Also with the backlog, I mean, the roads are much more dangerous because we have kids chancing it now because they go, ‘I'm not waiting 12 months to drive on my own’ and they're out driving on their own.

“So, it's really a vicious circle, the whole lot of it.”

Driving test waiting times. Driving test waiting times. Image: RSA

Dublin has the highest number of applications in the country with over 25,000 people waiting on a test.

Cork comes next with just over 6,000, followed by Kildare, Galway and Limerick.

County Monaghan has the fewest learners waiting, with Leitrim and Longford next lowest on the list.

Currently, the next available date for a test at Tallaght in Dublin is September, while in Dún Laoghaire it is October.

National Driving School instructor Clodagh Brannigan told Josh that the system was just catching up with the backlog before the pandemic hit.

“Then, during COVID, because we couldn't do tests for a very long time, the backlog just got longer and longer,” she said.

“More and more people obviously wanted to learn to drive; every year more people turn 17 and so yeah, the backlog is just insane.”

Clodagh said she has had students waiting up to a year and a half for a test.

She said the delays are a major problem because many people haven’t driven a car in a long time by the time their test rolls around.

“They're going in, they're failing and then they're back on the waiting list again,” she said.

“So it just gets longer and longer.”

Waiting lists

Mr Langan reducing the number of people turning up for tests unprepared could make a big difference to the backlog.

“The students that are turning up, it's obvious that they're not ready because some of them can't drive out the gate,” he said.

“There's nobody stopping that or telling them that they shouldn't be [going for their test].

“I guess they kind of have a right to do it, but it's taking up that slot for sure.”


He said instructors should be telling students that they are not ready for tests – and should be held accountable if too many of their students are failing.

“I mean, people's lives are massively affected by this,” he said.

“It's not just something that's, you know, ‘Ah sure you’ll get your test in a while’ – I have people crying in the car some days.

“It's putting them under so much pressure to get that test that one day they get it because they've waited one year.

“The pressure that's on them to try and get it then at that point is dangerous because they're going in there then under so much pressure and they're chancing it then day to day coming up to the test, maybe out on their own practising because they really want to get it.

“There's just too much pressure on the whole thing.”

Reporting from Josh Crosbie.

Share this article

Read more about

Driving Instructors Driving Test Learner Drivers Waiting Lists

Most Popular