Unite the union rejects latest unsafe practice of the Road Safety Authority

Road Safety Authority threatens to cancel driving tests without refund if test candidates do not accept a third person in the confined space of a car.

The RSA have begun the process of training newly appointed driver testers which Unite Approved Driving Instructors Branch welcomes as an active measure to tackle the backlog of 225,000 people currently waiting on a driving test or theory tests.

However as part of the training of these new testers, the RSA has continued with their pre-Covid practice of using a live driving test with members of the public who are sitting their test as part of this training programme. This places three people in a car without adequate space to comply with social distancing recommendations.

In response to Unites Driving Instructors branch the RSA indicated that, “in the event that a candidate refuses to proceed with the test while being accompanied the test will be cancelled and the candidate’s fee will be forfeit.” 

Speaking today Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said, “This stipulation from the RSA comes at a time when test candidates are predominately within the younger age categories and have yet to receive their vaccinations. Most have been caught up in unprecedented backlogs with many having been unemployed during the pandemic and would have struggled to meet the cost of sitting their test are now facing an ultimatum from the RSA.”

She continued noting that Unite Driving Instructors “have been contacted by those who have experienced having to share a car with two strangers during a pandemic, saying it added stress to an already stressful situation and can only have a negative effect on the driver’s performance particularly those who have not yet received their vaccination/s in the midst of the Delta variant cases rising on a daily basis.”

The RSA claim “all relevant health and safety protocols are followed in the operating of the service for driving test candidates, driver testers and the accompanying supervisors are fully protected in the carrying out of test.” Despite numerous requests the RSA has not provided the health and safety advice they have been given in relation to operations during Covid-19. All this occurs while the licenced driver, who was legally required to accompany the learner to the test centre is not allowed access to shelter, toilets or hand washing facilities at the RSA test centres.

Unite’s Driving Instructor Branch would welcome communication from the RSA on how to proceed in a manner that is safe, fair and proper for all involved.

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