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Prospect of “long awaited” progress for Driver Test waiting times and Electronic Scooter regulations

After a prolonged period of Laois TDs and County Councillors raising the issue, there is finally the prospect of progress on both  Driver Test waiting times and Electronic Scooter regulations.

41 additional driving testers have been recruited into the system,  bringing the total number in the State to 205.

The figures come from local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley, arising from a conversation with Jack Chambers TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport and at the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.

“Sanction has been given to the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to increase these numbers to alleviate any further pressures in the coming months,” Deputy Stanley said.

“The Minister states that his Department is working closely with the RSA to monitor demand and to ensure that the RSA meet the agreed service level agreement average waiting time of 10 weeks.

“The RSA are expected to achieve this by the middle of this year, and it is important that this happens as the waiting times in Laois / Offaly area are excessive.

“Many drivers that have applied in Birr and Portlaoise Centres for a test are waiting periods of in excess of 6 months.

“This is causing problems for young drivers and workers in rural areas and people who depend on their car for their livelihood.”

The matter of e-scooters has also been a bone of contention for local representatives, with the need for regulation consistently raised in Joint Police Committee meetings.

Deputy Stanley said that numerous members of the Public have complained to him about their use on footpaths.

The Sinn Féin TD said he received the following reply from Minister Chambers regarding the matter:

“The Road Traffic and Roads Act 2023 creates a new vehicle category, called powered personal transporters (PPTs), which includes e-scooters.

“My Department had expected to commence the parts of the Act relating to PPTs, and to introduce regulations for e-scooters, following the EU TRIS process under the Single Market Transparency Directive (EU) 2015/1535.

“However, some technical and legal issues were identified during drafting, in part taking account of comments received from the EU Commission during the TRIS process, which have delayed their introduction.

“Regulations for e-scooters are now expected to be in place in Q1 2024. E-scooters will not be legal to use in public places until that time.

“The Regulations will specify the technical requirements for e-scooters and conditions for their safe use. Among other requirements, e-scooters may not be used on footpaths or in pedestrianised areas.

“The use of helmets and personal protective equipment (PPE) will not be mandatory, although strongly recommended by my Department and the Road Safety Authority.”

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