Sugden receives driving test boost commitment

East Londonderry MLA Claire Sugden has secured confirmation that the DVA will boost its driving test capacity, saying it could help those who are unable to safely use public transport.

Ms Sugden was contacted by a constituent whose son wanted to take his driving test as soon as possible because a medical condition meant it was unsafe for him to use public transport.

She wrote to the Minister for Infrastructure – whose remit includes the Driving and Vehicle Agency (DVA) – to urge the department to resolve the issue as soon as possible.

“The DVA has prioritised around 200 ‘high priority workers’ since it recommenced testing on September 1,” Ms Sugden said. “They have also said they will first be working through 3,600 customers who had their tests cancelled between March and June.

“It is not ideal that those who cannot safely use public transport are not more quickly having their tests carried out. The risks of using public transport remain to high for many people with certain health conditions. Without their own transport these people are reliant on others, or are simply unable to travel.

“The Minister has, however, assured me that the capacity for carrying out driving tests will be increased once the backlog has been processed. She has estimated this will be some time in October or November.”

Minister for Infrastructure Nichola Mallon said new tests would be able to be booked “as soon as possible”.