by: Robin Piggott
The long waiting time to get a Driving Test Appointment here in Ireland is of course the responsibility of the Department of Transport. Or is it? It is so easy to blame your Government for every ill that assails us, but let’s look at the real reasons for the delay.
There are many factors leading to the incredible waiting time for Driving Test.
1.Demographics — here in Ireland we have a very high proportion of the population in the age group 17 to 30 which is the prime time for learning to drive.
2.Immigration — As a result of our new-found prosperity: Celtic Tiger Economy and all that, we are not only attracting back expatriates but we have become flavor of the month for those looking to find a new life from both the European bloc and further distant countries. Since the accession of 10 new States to the EU during 2004 there are numerous ethnic groups wending their way to Ireland. Most of these families will ultimately be in a position to own cars and the children of these families will also aspire to drive when they are old enough.
3.Government Legislation — introduced in JAN.2003,as part of EU Directives ,has led to a large chunk of drivers being forced to sit a Driving Test instead of being happy to drive on a provisional license for upwards of 25 years! In the lead up to this legislation, on one day alone, upwards of 8000 applications were received by the Driver Testing Section.
4.Candidates failing to turn up. Many Test candidates just don’t turn up at all. A recent grapevine comment from a Driving Tester indicated that four of his first six appointments on one day failed to show.
5.Cars not being up to the required Standard—Despite an extensive two page list of requirements on the Day, which is sent with all Test Appointments, cars are still being turned down .Some of the most common faults are :- Faulty Brake Lights; Cracked Windscreens; Faded and unreadable Insurance Discs; Poor Tyres.
6.Novice Drivers Unprepared—Learner Drivers are to a greater degree not taking adequate Driving Lessons. The result of this is a high first time failure rate. Lack of practice, in addition to Lessons is also contributing to candidates having to re- sit the Test.
7.Driving Test standards and requirements unknown—The changes due to recent Legislation will not always be known unless the candidate takes the trouble to enroll with a professional Driving School. Recently introduced on 14th February 2005 are the Technical checks which require a candidate to know their way around under the Bonnet (hood).
8.Cancellations —Obviously there will be genuine reasons for last minute cancellations such as family problems, health problems and so on but there are too many cancellations from pupils who are chickening out at the last moment .A recent candidate told me that her car had been stolen twice and of course hiring a Driving School car for a Test at the last moment is not an advisable course of action. Getting used to strange car is not something that you can do in just a few minutes.
9.Overconfidence—It is a myth that the longer you are driving the better you become. If a learner Driver hasn’t been taught the basics and some more advanced skills at the start of their driving career they will very quickly pick up poor techniques and habits which will be difficult to rectify at short notice.
10.Learning to Drive with Mum, Dad, Boyfriend, Girlfriend.— Many Adult Drivers have never taken a Driving Test, particularly those over 60 years of age and are not equipped to teach their offspring. In fact a high proportion of Adult Drivers exhibit such disregard for the basic Rules of the Road that they shouldn’t be permitted to be behind the wheel themselves, much less try to teach their children.
About the Author
Robin Piggott is a professional Driving Instructor who runs a School in Limerick, Ireland.To help the undecided learner driver make an informed decision and to get a head start, they should check out his web site and blog for the latest developments in the Driving Scene in Ireland.