Driving test centres working to resume normal services

By Mary Dennehy

THE RSA is working to resume driver testing services, with plans in place to resume driving tests for trucks, buses and motorcycles next week.

In a statement to The Echo, the RSA (Road Safety Authority) said that it hopes to resume car driving tests at the “earliest opportunity” in Phase 3.

Driving Test Centre 07 compressor

The RSA builing

In recent days, Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe raised the need for the Department of Transport to discuss its plans on how driving lessons and driving tests can be reintroduced in a safe manner.

Deputy Crowe made the call based on figures that show how more than 55,000 people are waiting for tests across the country – 5,267 of whom are waiting for a test in Tallaght.

“We need to hear loud and clear what the Department of Transport’s plans are and how driving lessons and driving tests can be reintroduced in a safe manner”, Deputy Crowe said.

“Safety measures like Perspex dividing screens, PPE for instructors and testers, along with shorter driving routes all need to be examined as we move forward.

“We also need to look at how other countries are managing this issue post-Covid and see what approaches are working best.”

Deputy Crowe added: “We need that type of plan on how we get over 55,000 people through their driving test in a timely and safe manner.

“Clearly, the Tallaght Centre, with the greatest backlog of applicants in any centre, needs to feature in that plan and be on top of whatever priorities that unfold.”

In a comment to The Echo, a spokesperson for the RSA said: “The RSA is working to resume driver testing services.

“Subject to Government approval to Phase 3 reopening measures, we are planning to resume driving tests for trucks, buses and motorcycles next week.

“We will be contacting customers to offer appointments in the coming days.

“We hope that car driving tests can be resumed at the earliest opportunity in phase 3 (in light of the government’s revised road map for the reopening of Ireland) but there are still matters to be finalised to support this.

 “Resumption of all driving tests will be subject to adherence to government guidelines and we will be advising our customers how to comply with those rules.”

On Wednesday, a number of driving instructors gathered outside the test centre in Tallaght to express their disapproval with some of the RSA’s new measures, which prevent instructors from accompanying students into the building, and waiting while they take their test in the driving instructor’s car.

According to driving instructors, they are also not permitted to use the bathroom facilities.

Aidan Jordan, who has been a driving instructor for 24 years, told The Echo: “It is difficult due to the Covid-19 crisis but the RSA is not coming up with a solution that treats everyone fairly.

“Instructors are not being accommodated…and are now not allowed in the test centre, the waiting rooms or use the toilet facilities.

“Instructors could now be left standing outside the test centre for more than 45 minutes…it’s a lack of respect for people who are working hand in hand with the RSA.”

Aidan added: “There are options.

“The RSA could hire an extra room, stagger the test times, make changes to facilities [to accommodate driving instructors].

“Driving instructors wandering around the [test centre] car park is not good and is in itself a health and safety issue.”

When asked about changes being introduced in relation to driving instructors, the RSA told The Echo: “Due to measures to prevent the spread of Covid -19, driving test centres can only be used by test candidates who have an appointment for a driving test.”

Visit www.RSA.ie for updates on driving tests.

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