Unite calls for positive engagement with instructors to improve driver testing system
Trade union Unite, which represents driving instructors throughout Ireland, today (Tuesday) said that an IT malfunction on the Road Safety Authority’s test booking system earlier this month caused confusion among both learners and instructors already stressed by the impact of Covid-19. The union stressed the need to ensure that any systems issues are fully resolved before the proposed roll-out of online driver theory testing, and said the recent malfunction highlighted the need for effective communications channels between the RSA and driving instructors.
Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:
“Earlier this month driving instructors became aware of a serious malfunction in the RSA’s test booking system. The RSA website allowed new students who had not yet completed their Essential Driver Training lessons to book a driving test, and then subsequently emailed them stating that they must complete their EDT immediately in order to take the test as scheduled. Most tests had been booked for January, and current restrictions mean that students are not able to complete their EDT lessons. At the same time, however, students who applied for their test months ago have not yet received a date.
“This caused considerable stress and confusion among students, who have been contacting their instructors for assistance. Driving Instructors, however, have no communication channels with the RSA which would allow them to clarify matters.
“The RSA recently stated that it intends offering driver theory tests online in order to help clear the massive backlog which has built up since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the experience earlier this month highlights the need to ensure that any systems issues are fully resolved before online testing is rolled out.
“Driving instructors can provide early warning of system malfunctions, yet the Road Safety Authority still refuses to engage directly with driving instructors and set up streamlined communications channel which would allow issues to be addressed and resolved immediately”, Ms O’Dowd concluded.