Unite warns of impending crisis in driver education

Warning follows revelation of RSA plan for massive increase in Driver Theory Testing

Union writes to Minister highlighting capacity issues and seeking urgent consultation

Trade union Unite, which represents Approved Driving Instructors throughout Ireland, has today (Friday) warned of an impending crisis in driver education following this week’s announcement that the Road Safety Authority intends increasing the capacity of the driver theory test system to 50,000 applicants per month.  The union has written to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan highlighting the absence of a plan for delivering the resulting 600,000 mandatory lessons and seeking urgent consultation with the Department and the RSA.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:

“While our members working as Approved Driving Instructors welcome the planned increase in driver tester numbers to cope with the current backlog of driving test applications, the plan announced at this week’s Oireachtas Transport Committee meeting does not take account of capacity issues.

“The RSA apparently plans to increase the capacity of the Driver Theory test system to 50,000 applicants per month, but they have not put forward a plan for delivering the resulting 600,000 mandatory lessons.

“This will result very serious capacity issues, not least because driving instructors have been forced to leave the industry in large numbers due to financial stress.

“It is clear that coherent plan to clear the driving test backlog needs to be developed with input from all stakeholders.  The experience, expertise and commitment of driving instructors must be central to the formulation and delivery of such a plan.  The Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority urgently need to engage with our members through Unite to avert a potential crisis in driver education which would have serious knock-on effects not only for learner drivers but for the wider travelling public”, Ms O’Dowd concluded.

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