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Driving Test Numbers Drop in Northern Ireland

Like the rest of Britain, Northern Ireland is experiencing a slump in the number of driving tests being taken. New figures show that for the third consecutive quarter, driving test applications have plummeted, while the number of theory tests being taken has also declined. What’s happening? Here’s what we know…

Figures released by Northern Ireland’s Department for Infrastructure show that 14,000 driving test bookings were made in 2017, while just over 14,000 tests were taken. According to the data, this is the first time that three consecutive quarters have recorded a slump in bookings when compared with the same timeframe in 2016.

The last quarter shows that more than 233,000 vehicle tests were conducted by the DVA – including full tests and retests – representing a slump of nearly 2% compared to the equivalent quarter last year. 83% of these tests were full tests.

Driving Theory Test Numbers Drop

Meanwhile, the number of driving theory tests taken last quarter declined by more than 4%, dropping to 18,300. This decrease is in addition to the 4% slump seen in the previous quarter, and is the first time that there have been three consecutive quarterly decreases.

A decline in the number of driving exams and theory test bookings has led to a slump in the number of new vehicle registrations, too. Between July and September 2017, the number of vehicle registrations was down by more than 10% compared with the same quarter in 2016.

According to the figures, more than 71,000 licencing transactions were carried out by the DVA from October to December 2017 – representing an increase of around 31% compared to figures for the same period in 2016.

However, as of 31 December 2017, there were close to 11,200 licenced taxi drivers – a decline of 9% when compared with figures for the same period in 2016. This represents a continuing trend of decline, with numbers down by 30% when compared with the 15,800 recorded at the end of 2013.

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