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Strangford MLA Michelle McIlveen has called for the Infrastructure Minister to tackle the driver and vehicle test backlog.

Responding to statistics published by the Driver and Vehicle Agency confirming the number of driving and vehicle tests conducted in October, DUP Strangford MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Infrastructure Committee Michelle McIlveen said:

‘’The Minister has known about the crisis facing learners for many months. Despite this, the backlog of driving tests seems to be holding steady at record levels. In 2020 almost 30,000 fewer driving tests have been conducted compared to the same period last year. The equivalent figure for vehicle tests stands at over 600,000.

This is a disturbing snapshot and shouldn’t be ignored. The Department needs to urgently rethink and accelerate its strategy to stepping up testing in order to meet soaring demand for services.

It is unacceptable that young drivers could be waiting the best part of a year to secure a driving test. As a result of the most recent NI-wide restrictions all driving tests scheduled between 17 October and 13 November were cancelled and it now seems likely that this will also take place for those with appointments booked until 27 November. This will leave learners facing a sense of déjà vu, with some having tests cancelled on two or three occasions.

The Minister will face questions from MLAs on Monday and I would urge her to use that opportunity to set out a clear and ambitious timetable for meeting the backlog is testing. The DUP will continue to advocate strongly on behalf of those seeking to get their licence and get on the road as soon as possible.’’

Note to editor

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