Workable solutions must be found to address the backlog of driving test applications, independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said.
The representative for the Roscommon-Galway constituency noted that it was unacceptable that over 25,000 applicants for the test are being left in limbo, having already completed the essential training with a qualified instructor prior to the lockdown.
Commenting on the matter, he said: “Many of these applicants are depending on this licence to ensure that they can travel to work. As it stands, they have to be accompanied by a qualified driver as they only have a provisional licence.
“But this isn’t always possible and some people may have to break this rule if they want to get to and from work, particularly in rural Ireland where public transport isn’t as widely available as it might be in urban areas.
“These people are being backed into an impossible decision by the indecision and ambiguity of Minister Shane Ross and his department.
“There has to be a workable solution which can allow tests to go ahead without breaking social distancing guidelines. As has been mentioned, a system similar to the motorbike test could be employed.
“The applicant could be given a copy of the route and the instructor could follow behind in their own vehicle, while maintaining communication via a headset or bluetooth speaker.
“A go-pro camera could be used to allow the instructor view the applicant’s driving abilities, without having to sit in the car while they navigate the route.
“Technology is available which can assist with this issue, but we must be willing to take advantage of the opportunity. Otherwise, the backlog is only going to get worse and applicants will be forced to way for months on end to get an opportunity to sit the test,” Fitzmaurice concluded.
Michael Fitzmaurice TD 086-1914565