February 15th: Unite, which represents driving instructors throughout Ireland, today slammed the Road Safety Authority’s decision to cancel driving tests for essential workers due to recent cold weather. Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:
“According to the most recent figures, the driving test backlog is over 64,000 with waiting times of approximately 25 weeks, compared to just six weeks this time last year.
“During Level 5 restrictions, only essential workers can sit their tests. But even they have literally been frozen out by the Road Safety Authority, which has been arbitrarily cancelling tests due to low temperatures – despite the fact that weather conditions were dry and safe”.
Dominick Brophy is chair of Unite’s Approved Driving Instructor Branch and added:
“We have been receiving multiple reports from ADIs that tests, for essential workers, are being cancelled due to the RSA testers feeling that it is “too cold” to slightly roll down the car windows (which is part of their Covid safety protocols) for a test.
“The backlog is big enough as it is, without cancelling tests for no good reason – especially for essential workers who we all depend on during this pandemic.
“Our union branch has been seeking meaningful engagement with the Ministers, as well as the RSA, for months. Driving instructors and learners awaiting their tests, have had enough of being messed around and treated like they don’t matter.” said Mr. Brophy
“If the RSA think it’s appropriate to waste the time of essential and frontline workers during a pandemic, then something drastically needs to change. The Department of Transport urgently needs to step in and review how the Road Safety Authority does its business”, Mr. Brophy concluded.