The Road Safety Authority has said that an additional 80 driver testers are needed in order to reduce driving test waiting lists to ten weeks by the end of March 2022.

Currently, people awaiting a driving test are looking at wait times of up to 25 weeks. 

Representatives from the Road Safety Authority were before the Oireachtas Committee on Transport this morning. 

RSA Chief Executive Sam Waide said there are 62,024 people waiting for a driving test with a further 30,720 people ineligible for a test because they have not completed their driving lessons, which are suspended under Level 5 restrictions.

At present only essential workers are deemed eligible to sit a test and 5,670 people have a test scheduled in the coming weeks.

RSA Director of Driver Testing and Licensing Declan Naughton said there are 138 testers and the RSA has been given permission to hire 40 more, which its hopes to deploy by the end of June. 

However, to get down to waiting times of 12 weeks by February 2022 and ten weeks by the end of March 2022, the RSA would need another 40 testers on top of that, bringing the total number of driver testers to 218. 

Mr Naughton said that this would have to be sanctioned by the Department of Transport.

Committee chair Kieran O'Donnell said the committee would write to the Department of Transport to ask it to give the green light to hiring the extra testers.

The RSA's 138 testers are doing six driver tests per day, compared to eight before the start of the pandemic. 

The committee also heard that an online theory test will be rolled out using a programme called Pro Proctor.

Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley said it was regrettable that the RSA did not have offices open to provide services to elderly people who wanted to extend their licences.