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Backlog fear as driving tests resume

THE resumption of driving tests from tomorrow (Tuesday, September 1) has been welcomed by a Tyrone driving instructor, but he has warned a backlog of tests is to be expected.

Requests from key workers will be prioritised, followed by people whose tests were cancelled due to lockdown.

In response to concerns about delays to driving tests, a spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) claimed it will take “six to eight weeks” to clear the backlog of driving tests in Northern Ireland.

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Omagh driving instructor Darryl Ewing, known locally as Dee, has welcomed the resumption of driving tests but said a backlog is to be expected.

“Four months is a long time and it is good to get back to some sort of normality. Personally, I had nine students for motorbike tests, 11 driving tests for cars and 13 trailer tests, which were all cancelled,” he said.

“The motorbike tests have been up-and-running again since July so they have been completed. The trailer tests are expected early in the new year, but the car tests are starting for key workers and those who have had their tests cancelled in September.

“The cancellations should go through in September and October, but anyone starting now, it will be November onwards before they get a test date.”

The DVA has already reinstated some driver testing services for those licence categories where testing can be done in line with guidance on social distancing requirements.

This included motorcycle rider testing from July 6, and tests for drivers of buses, tractors and module 4 CPC tests for lorry, bus and coach driver from July 20.

Mr Ewing added, “I have been back working since June because I do motorbike testing too. I have only been back doing lessons in cars since the middle of July, and we have been just trying to get back to normal. It is important to give students the opportunity to get ready for their exam and prepare them as best we can.”

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