RSA chief Noel Brett: 'a hundred different factors'

MASSIVE disparities in the number of motorists passing and failing their driving tests are being reported across centres nationwide.

Success rates can vary substantially, by as much as 100% in some instances, with certain centres passing only three in every 10 drivers.

Provisional licence holders can double their chances of success if they pick other centres, details from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have shown.

The worst place in Ireland by far to do your test is also one of the country's busiest testing locations – Rathgar, Dublin.

Only 30.6% of those who go for their licence at the centre in Rathgar, which features a notoriously tricky testing route, are being passed.

At the other end of the scale, drivers doing their test at the centre in Sligo have a 67.1% chance of succeeding, the RSA has revealed.

Three of the centres in Dublin have success rates of less than 40%, with Finglas posting a 39.9% pass rate and Raheny 37.7%.

Dublin is one of the safest counties in Ireland in which to drive, when collision and fatality statistics are measured.

Only Tallaght in Dublin recorded a rate higher than 40%, but even the pass rate there – 41% – was well below the average.

Two other centres also had a pass rate of less than 40% last year – Wicklow town (39.3%) and Carlow town (37%).

Both Wicklow and Carlow are among the safest counties in Ireland when it comes to road collisions.

A total of seven centres boasted pass rates of more than 60% according to the figures, with Sligo claiming the top spot for ease of passing the test.

Other centres where high pass rates were reported included those in Tuam,
Co Galway (65.6%); Ennis, Co Clare (63.4%); Donegal town (62.6%); Birr, Co Offaly (62.3%); Dungarvan, Co Waterford (61.3%) and Skibbereen, Co Cork

The average pass rate across all of the centres in Ireland was 51.8% last year, according to the RSA.

Sources said some of the differences could be explained by location.

RSA chief executive Noel Brett said: "When you look across the driving test world, we actually rank very well with our division of pass/fail in this country.

"We are right in the centre of pass rates in Europe.

"If you have the misfortune to take your test in Dublin at 8.30am during rush hour, you really are in the thick of it and, obviously, it is going to be more difficult than in other places.

"If you do your test in a very busy urban setting, it will expose your faults. If you do it in a quieter setting, you may not encounter the same obstacles.

"There are a hundred different factors: the weather, the time of the day, whether you are in an urban or rural area. And we are trying to develop the system and make it level for people."

Motorists who find themselves repeatedly failing can at least console themselves with significant reductions in queues for repeat tests.

The longest wait reported this month at a centre was eight weeks, at the test location in Buncrana, Co Donegal. In general, the waiting lists have been reduced to between five or six weeks, with a queue of just three weeks reported at the centre in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

Percentage Pass Rate For The Nation's Driving Test Centres


Churchtown 42.3%
Finglas 39.9%
Raheny 37.7%
Rathgar 30.6%
Tallaght 41%


Carlow 37.0%


Naas 40%

Tipperary South

Clonmel 56%
Tipperary 43.3%


Waterford 53.7%
Dungarvan 61.3%


Tullamore 55%
Birr 62.3%


Athlone 57.4%
Mullingar 53.9%


Wicklow 39.3%


Cork 53.2%
Skibbereen 60.6%
Mallow 49.2%


Carrick-on-Shannon 59.1%


Ballina 58.5%
Castlebar 56.1%


Galway 56.1%
Clifden 59.5%
Loughrea 55.2%
Tuam 65.6%


Wexford 48.5%
Gorey 45.7%


Kilrush 56.9%
Ennis 63.4%
Shannon 50.5%


Kilkenny 37.6%


Killarney 57.4%
Tralee 58.8%

Tipperary North

Thurles 41.8%
Nenagh 48.8%


Sligo 67.1%


Cavan 46.9%


Newcastle West 52.8%
Limerick 52.2%


Navan 53.2%


Monaghan 55%


Portlaoise 41.4%


Roscommon 59%


Longford 50.4%


Donegal 62.6%
Letterkenny 52.2%
Buncrana 59%


Dundalk 50.9%