Unite warns check test backlog may leave driving instructors and learners in limbo

Union calls for permits to be extended while backlog is cleared

February 16th: Unite, which represents Approved Driving Instructors throughout Ireland, has called on the Road Safety Authority to extend instructors’ permits while the RSA works through the backlog of check tests.  Instructors must pass check tests in order to remain registered.  Due to Covid-19, many instructors have only weeks left on their permits while the waiting period for check tests is approximately three months.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:

“Given the three-month waiting period for a check test, and the need to gather together a range of documentation and apply for Garda clearance (itself subject to long delays) our members have a dual concern.  Those members with only a few weeks left on their permit may find that the permit expires before their check test appointment.  Other members may be unable to obtain the necessary documentation, especially Garda clearance, in time for their check test appointment, and may not be able to reschedule the appointment.

“In either case, driving instructors’ names may be temporarily removed from the register if their permit expires before they are able to take a check test.  This leaves both instructors and learner drivers in limbo.

“The RSA also needs to give drivers an assurance that they can reschedule a check test if, for example, they are still awaiting documentation and Garda clearance.

“The Road Safety Authority also urgently needs to clarify that instructors’ permits will be extended until they are in a position to take a check test, enabling them to continue delivering lessons and uploading them to the RSA portal. 

“Unless the RSA moves to clarify these issues and ensure that driving instructors’ permits remain valid, the backlog in check lists could drive a renewed backlog in driving tests.

“Unite would also urge the RSA to reconstitute the Approved Driving Instructors’ Stakeholders Forum to facilitate communication and engagement and ensure that issues such as check tests are managed smoothly in the interests of instructors, learners and all road users”, Ms O’Dowd concluded.

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