Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics Published

The Department of Environment (DOE) has published the Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics for the third quarter of 2015-16.

The publication is produced by the Analytical Services Branch (ASB) of the DOE and contains summary statistical and trend information relating to the main functions of the DOE's Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) and other vehicle licensing activity.

Key points of the report include:

Driver Testing

From October to December 2015, 14,122 Driving Test Applications were submitted to the DVA. This marks an increase of 5% in applications compared with the same quarter in 2014, when the number stood at 13,506. However, this is still one fifth less than the series high for the three month period, with 17,578 applications received during October to December 2008.

Numerically the largest increase in applications has been for Private Car L Tests, where numbers have increased by 461 from 11,494 in Quarter 3 2014/15 to 11,955 in Quarter 3 2015/16. The figure for 2015/16 continues the generally increasing trend seen since the low point in the series of 10,439 recorded during 2013/14 and is likely linked to continuing improvements in the economy.

From October to December 2015, nearly 15,200 Driving Tests were Conducted by the DVA; this is 8% higher than for the same quarter last year when the figure stood at nearly 14,000. The figure for October to December 2015 is 26% less than the series high for this three month period observed during October to December 2008 (20,426).

The pass rate for the Private Cars L Test was up just over half a percentage point to just top 55% in Quarter 3 2015/16 compared to the same period in the previous year. The pass rate, while over 8 percentage points higher than the October to December series low of just under 47% seen during 2008/09, is still below the series high of almost 57% recorded in this quarter in 2013/14.

Vehicle Testing

From October to December 2015, approximately 244,200 Vehicle Tests were carried out by the DVA. The vast majority of these (81%) were Full Tests. Overall, Tests Conducted has increased by 4% compared with the same quarter in 2014 when the number of tests conducted was over 234,800.

A total of 6,878 vehicles failed to attend for a booked test during the quarter, which is almost one tenth higher than the 6,275 which failed to attend for a booked test during equivalent period last year. As a proportion of all test appointments offered during this period, FTAs increased to 2.7%, a relatively small increase of 0.1 percentage points.
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The overall pass rate for Full Tests was 77.5%, a slight decrease of 0.5 percentage points compared with the same period last year. Despite this decrease, the current trend data shows that for the October to December periods there has been a generally increasing pass rate for Full tests, increasing by 3 percentage points from this quarter in 2011.

Theory Testing

A total of 18,042 applications for Theory Tests were received by DVA, an increase of 1,342 (8%) compared with the same period in 2014 when 16,700 applications were received. The vast majority (67%) of the additional applications made during October to December 2015 were related to theory test applications for Private Cars (+896). The increase in theory test applications will, in part, be due to the decrease in the pass rate for the test, resulting in more candidates booking to retake their test.

Theory Test pass rates for Private Cars showed a full percentage point fall to just under 47% when compared with the same quarter in 2014/15. This compares with a pass rate of around 20% for the taxi theory test which was newly introduced at the end of October 2014.

Vehicle Registrations

During July to September 2015/16, 17,998 vehicles were registered for the first time in Northern Ireland. The number of new vehicle first registrations showed a decrease from the last equivalent quarter, down by 5%. This is the first fall in growth after consecutive Quarter 2 increases of 1%, 12% and 15% seen from July - September 2012.

Driver Licence Stock

Approximately 76% of Northern Ireland’s entitled population had a full and eligible licence for Private Cars / Light Vans as at the 31st December 2015. For the Male entitled population, the proportion was 82% compared to 70% for females.

Road Transport Licensing

The number of Taxi Driver Licences issued during October to December 2015 (574) was down by nearly 35% when compared with the number issued during the same quarter in 2014 (879). This is a continuation of the generally declining trend with numbers down by half on the October to December 2009 figure (1,169). This latest reduction may have been exacerbated by the introduction of a new taxi driver theory and practical driving test which was introduced on 31st Oct 2014.

Enforcement Activities

From October to December 2015, there were a total of 485 Fixed Penalty Notices issued by DVA Enforcement Officers. This represents an increase of approaching one third (29%) on the 375 issued in the same period of 2014. This large rise can, in part, be explained by the introduction of Phase 3 of the Fixed Penalty and Deposit scheme in November 2014.

The number of files referred to the PPS stood at 112 for October to December 2015, up by 15% from the 97 referred during October to December 2014. Since 2011, enforcement officers have had the option of using fixed penalty notices for minor offences rather than referrals to the PPS.


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