IFA Farm Business Chair Rose Mary McDonagh has called on the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to urgently increase the testing capacity for the Driver Theory Test.
The call comes as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has announced that it is capable of providing only 4,000 online tests per month using an online ProProctor platform.
IFA President Tim Cullinan had previously written to Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton urging the Government to reclassify the Driver Theory Test as an essential service.
“The RSA has reported a backlog of over 100,000 of people waiting to take the Driver Theory Test and the newly-launched online platform will not make any meaningful progress,” said Rose Mary McDonagh.
“To compound matters, the online platform is not compatible with mobile phones, tablets or Mac. To use the platform, a candidate must have access to a PC with Windows 8 or above and an internet connection with a minimum speed of 5 mbps.”
“It’s only a sticking plaster solution with too many barriers to the significant roll-out that’s needed.”
“The suspension until further notice of the Driver Theory Test being taken in-person along with the inadequate online platform is blocking many essential workers from obtaining a driving licence.”
In 2019, the RSA issued 2,366 tractor learner permits.
“We can assume that thousands of essential workers are being prevented from carrying out essential work on farms and securing employment with agricultural contractors.”
“We urgently need a permanent solution to increase capacity, meet demand and reduce the backlog. At the very least, the Government must initiate a major upgrade in the online platform to allow for greater capacity and compatibility with all devices.”