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NI driving test figures show rise in September applications


The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has blamed the demand for tests for the delays

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has blamed the demand for tests for the delays

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has blamed the demand for tests for the delays

Applications for Northern Ireland driving tests last month were 36% above the five-year September average, the latest DVA figures have revealed.

The organisation publishes a monthly report showing the statistics of the number of driving and vehicle tests.

The figures show there were 6,661 applications for a driving test appointment received last month.

There were also 6,441 driving tests conducted in September, a 41-per-cent increase on the monthly average for the last five years.

Covid-19 restrictions around vehicle testing by the DVA were eased back in April.

Private cars accounted for 82% (5,267) of all driving tests conducted in September.

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The DVA also conducted 7,640 theory tests in August, almost 25% (2,494) below that for July (10,134).

Private cars account for 88% (6,730) of all theory tests conducted in August.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) took over the contract for carrying out theory testing from previous company Pearson back in September.

According to the Department for Infrastructure, the transition to the new service provider (DVSA) may help to explain the drop in theory tests conducted for August -the latest figures available.

In terms of MoTs, the DVA received 93,653 applications for a full vehicle test in September, just over 12,400 (15%) more than for August (81,227).

They said the increase in applications is partly due to Test Exemption Certificates issued in March 2021 expiring and requiring owners to present their vehicles for MOT in September.

In September 2021, the DVA conducted 57,227 full vehicle tests, just over 5% (3,453) fewer compared to August (60,680), and 86% of the five-year September average (66,310).

They explained the switch over to a new IT administrative system may have affected testing operations during the weekend this new system was installed.

The statistics come in the wake of stark waiting time figures from the department, showing prospective Northern Ireland drivers are waiting as long as 110 days to take a test.

The Department said: "From 1 April to 11 September 2021, the last date the DVA has statistics for, the average waiting time for a driving test was 76 days."

The longest average waiting time for a test was at the Dill Road test centre in east Belfast, at 110 days.

This was followed by Downpatrick, where the average wait was 104 days, and Cookstown at 96 days.

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