The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said it hopes to clear the backlog in driving tests before the end of this year.

Around 120,000 learners are waiting to take their driver theory test and 62,000 are waiting for a driving test.

Until a few weeks ago, only essential workers could get lessons and driving instructors still have to turn away customers because of the level of demand.

Kevin Horgan, Managing Director of Ladybird Driving School, said he had been taking phone calls from frustrated customers looking to get back to lessons.

He said his and other schools were struggling to meet demand.

There is also the issue of customers who cannot start lessons as they are still waiting to sit their theory tests.

The RSA has said it is taking measures to clear the backlog and cut waiting times.

It has increased its capacity for theory tests to 25,000 per month and plans a further increase to 50,000 per month when it secures permission from Government.

It is also offering 4,000 theory tests online on a pilot basis and may expand this scheme.

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On the driving test, RSA Communications Manager Brian Farrell said the authority has recruited and trained an additional 40 examiners and they will start work this month or in July.

In addition to this, the authority has obtained permission in principle to recruit another 40.

Mr Farrell said it was hoped that these additional resources would bring the waiting time for a test down to 12 weeks by the end of this year.

Tiernan Brennan a postgraduate student in TU Dublin managed to get his theory test in October by keeping a keen eye out online for slots becoming vacant because of cancellations.

He is still, however, waiting for his first lesson. He is in constant touch with his driving instructor hoping to find out when she can get around to him.

He wants to get a driving license before the end of this year as he is planning to travel to Africa next year for research and may need to drive when travelling to rural areas.

Mr Horgan acknowledged that the RSA was doing a lot but said more needs to be done.

He said he fears it will be years before the backlogs are cleared and wants the authority to think outside the box and consider measures, such as bringing in driving instructors as driving test examiners.