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The DUP’s Mid Ulster MLA Keith Buchanan has said the Infrastructure Minister has been dammed by her own statistics and serious questions now arise following the publication of DVA statistics.

During the 2020/21 financial year, the DVA conducted 9,502 driving tests, yet the previous year this number was 55,443. This is an 83% decrease.

Mr Buchanan said,

“The Infrastructure Minister has failed to set out a clear plan to deal with this driving test backlog. For the previous decade, there have been between 55k and 60k driving tests needed per year. That means the DVA will, over the next twelve months, need to work at almost double speed to meet demand.

The Minister needs to publish a plan which addresses the backlog. So far, her plans have been aspirational, lacking detail and failing young people seeking their driving test.

When my colleagues previously estimated the backlog to be 20k, we were told we were exaggerating. It is clear now from these statistics, that far from overestimating, we were underestimating the scale of the backlog.

If the demand for driving tests has almost doubled, then the Minister must double the capability, yet with Covid-19 measures in place, the test centres have actually a reduced capacity.

At this rate, it will be easier for young people to get a ticket for Glastonbury in 2022 than a driving test appointment.”