WITH figures emerging that close on 2,500 people in Kerry are facing waiting times of several months before being called to sit their driving tests, it has been confirmed that the average waiting time nationally is now 25 weeks compared to just six weeks this time last year.
Only essential workers are allowed to sit their tests during the Level 5 lockdown.
It was revealed recently that, up to and including January 10 last, over 1,200 drivers in Killarney – where there are two examiners – were waiting to be called while a similar number were waiting in Tralee where three testers are employed.
The government has been urged to urgently increase the number of driving testers in the county before the waiting list for driving tests gets totally out of hand.
Nationally, just over 300 people on the list have been given dates for their tests but over 700 are awaiting to receive essential driver training certificates before they can advance to the test date.
Raising the matter locally, Cllr Jackie Healy-Rae said it is important that the process is advanced faster as many of the drivers awaiting a test still need a driver to accompany them to drive them to work.
“For many, a full licence is also a requirement of employment and we are failing these, particularly at a time during the Covid-19 pandemic when secure employment is so vital, not alone to the individual but in some cases to whole families,” he said.
The Road Safety Authority has called for the prioritisation of its driving testers for the Covid-19 vaccine to help reduce the waiting times for drivers anxious for an opportunity to obtain their full licences.
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