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DUP Strangford MLA Michelle McIlveen who also chairs the Assembly’s Infrastructure Committee has called for the Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to publish a date for the resumption of driving tests.

Commenting Michelle McIlveen said,

“Nurses, doctors, food processors, police officers and other key workers have all been carrying out their role to the full throughout this pandemic. While driving tests were suspended, and that was a sensible step at the time, it is essential we are provided with a precise date for these to recommence.

Having suspended all tests on 20 March 2020, the Minister is more than aware of the backlog which has been created. Despite being asked, the Minister has failed to provide a plan to address this. The ability to drive is crucial for the economy and, in particular, for people to secure employment.

Driving instructors are able to work from 6th July but the only people able to get tests at that point will be those seeking off-road and on-road motorcycle licenses. From 20 July 2020, practical driving tests in the additional categories of bus, tractor and module 4 CPC tests for lorry, bus and coach drivers will resume. While this is positive, there needs to be a clear plan for the public and for other stakeholders such as instructors about practical car tests. Whilst DVLA England has sent detailed information to their stakeholders, communication from DVA has been incredibly poor.

The Minister needs get on top of the matter and address it urgently.”

Michelle McIlveen also challenged the DfI Minister about causing confusion amongst Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) during an interview on Radio Ulster’s Good Morning Ulster programme.

“The DfI has said in written communication that;

“While the Department is responsible for regulating the Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) industry, it does not employ ADIs in the capacity of delivering driving instruction. The Department has no remit to suspend their services or determine when they might return to work.”

The Minister when asked in the interview about driving instructors, only caused confusion in the sector about their ability to work. It is time she publicly gave clarity to the sector and affirmed that they can return to work.”