Learner drivers are facing a two-month wait before getting the chance to lose their L-plates with many facing the prospect of waiting until next year to do their test.
The backlog has been blamed on the lack of examiners and a ban on tests during the covid lockdowns.
The demand for driving tests in Northern Ireland is extremely high.
On top of that bookings for retests have added to the already lengthy waiting list of drivers hoping to throw away their L-plates
The Department of Infrastructure has put the latest average waiting time down to 61 days.
That's across all test centres from the date of the appointment is booked until the date the test is conducted.
In a statement, it has admitted that the DVA is experiencing high demand with longer than usual waiting times at all its test centres but said it remained committed to reducing the waiting times.
A spokesperson from the Department for Infrastructure said: “Since the resumption of driving test services following the pandemic the Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) has steadily increased its driving test capacity by adopting a range of measures including the recruitment of additional driving examiners, use of overtime to rota off-shift dual role examiners to provide further capacity and cover for leave, and offering driving test appointments on Sundays and bank holidays, where it is suitable to do so without compromising the integrity of the test.
“In 2022-23, the DVA conducted 68,540 driving tests, which is the highest number of driving tests conducted since 2009. Almost 82% (56,132) of all driving tests in 2022-23 were Category B (private car) tests, the highest for a single year in twelve years. Disappointingly, 2,812 people failed to attend their test, which is the highest number on record.
It's launching a recruitment drive soon for additional examiners and its advice to L-drivers is to keep checking the booking system for availability and to try another centre if their preferred one isn't available.
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