Over half of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) applications are put on the waiting list, with 43,119 people currently waiting on their test to be scheduled.
At the end of last month, overall applications stood at 82,819, figures released under the Freedom of Information Act 2014 have shown.
“The waiting time for a test varies enormously from centre to centre. The main reason for this is because there are not enough testers to keep up with the demand for tests,” Eamon Curtis, a former RSA instructor, said.
On the correlation between failures rates and the current waiting time, Mr Curtis said: “The fact that there is a high failure rate adds to the problem, because retests have to be conducted. More testers need to be recruited and the high failure rate also needs to be examined.”
In 2017, failure rates across the country were on average just over 47 percent. A total of 125,967 people took the test, with 59,280 failing.
Mr Curtis said: “The high percentage of no shows is also a contributing factor to long waiting lists. When someone doesn’t show up for their test, or don’t have their vehicle or documentation in order, the tester is idle for the duration of that test, which can add up to a lot of missed tests.”
Between 2016 and 2017, failure rates rose by 11.8 percent, increasing from 53,029 to 59,280. The lowest failure rate recorded was 34.14 percent in Sligo, and the highest failure rate was found in Wicklow at 50.82 percent during 2017.
There are many variables that have led to the recent failure figures. The most recurring reason is not sticking to protocol when observing the road, signs, mirrors, positioning and turning at roundabouts, said Mr Curtis.
He continues: “Test applicants just don’t put in enough effort between lessons and some testers apply their own standards and not the standard required by the RSA.”
The number of tests conducted has increased from 114,399 to 125,867, that is a rise of 10.9 percent since the beginning of 2016 through to 2017.
Mr Curtis said that failure rates vary within test centres, mainly due to testers not complying to the standards set by the RSA. “Driver testing is a strange business, the more successful an instructor is, the more customers they lose because when a learner passes the test, they won’t be coming back,” he said.
When asked about the high amount of applicants on the RSA waiting list, a spokesperson said that they are currently training new testers, with aims of reducing the numbers in the coming weeks.