Fianna Fáil TD for Kerry John Brassil has called on the Transport Minister to consider a maximum waiting time for driving tests in a bid to drive down lengthy waiting lists for learner drivers.

According to the latest figures, the average waiting time for a test in Killarney is 15 weeks, but some people are waiting up to 18 weeks to be called.

Deputy Brassil said, “Despite a commitment from the Transport Minister to reduce waiting times, the reality is that they are continuing to remain unacceptably high.  A wait of over three months is too long for someone dependent on their car.  This is an every day reality for people living in rural Ireland, where public transport is patchy or non-existent.

“For many people, a car is a necessity.  They need it for work or to get to college.  In the majority of rural areas, there is no alternative option and lengthy waits for tests are a major source of anxiety and stress for people who are waiting months on end for a test.

“Only yesterday it was revealed that 377 cars being driven by learner drivers were seized by the Gardaí following the introduction of new legislation in December.  When the Clancy amendment was introduced, my party urged Minister Shane Ross to take urgent action to reduce the backlog for driving tests but that has not happened.

“The RSA has committed to waiting times of no more than ten weeks, but here in Kerry learner drivers are waiting an average of 15 weeks, and in some instances up to 18 weeks.

“Minister Ross needs to wake up to the fact that cars are an essential part of life for people outside of Dublin.  We do not have the same standard and availability of public transport and people simply have no alternative to the car.  He should commit to introducing a mandatory maximum waiting time and put the resources in place to ensure it is delivered”, concluded Deputy Brassil.