The number of people applying to take driving tests in Northern Ireland has fallen for three consecutive quarters year-on-year, new figures have revealed.
Figures released by the Department for Infrastructure showed more than 14,000 driving test applications were submitted to the DVA and just over 14,000 test were taken last year.
This is the first time that three consecutive quarters have shown a decrease in applications when compared with the same period the previous year.
Last quarter more than 233,000 vehicle tests were carried out by the DVA (full tests and retests), a decrease of nearly 2% compared to the equivalent quarter last year. The vast majority of these (83%) were full tests.
The number of theory tests conducted last quarter fell by more than 4% to 18,300. This decrease follows on from the 4% decrease seen in the previous quarter and is the first time that there have been three consecutive quarterly decreases.
The number of new vehicle first registrations in the period July – September 2017 showed a decrease from the last equivalent quarter, down by slightly more than 10%. Within this, new car first registrations decreased by 9% which is over one thousand less registrations than that seen for the same quarter in 2016.
The top make for private cars registered for the first time during the July to September quarter was Ford, accounting for nearly 1,600 such registrations, the second largest make was Volkswagen at just over 1,300 first registrations.
However, both Ford and Volkswagen showed a decrease in numbers when compared to the same period in 2016.
More than 71,000 licensing transactions were carried out by DVA during October to December 2017. This represented an increase of approximately 31% in comparison with the volume carried out in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
At 31 December 2017, there were nearly 11,200 licensed taxi drivers, down by 9% when compared with the same point of 2016. This is a continuation of the declining trend with numbers down by 30% from the series high of around 15,800 recorded at the end of 2013.
During October to December 2017, DVA enforcement staff checked almost 1,400 vehicles; of these, the largest volume was for Heavy Goods Vehicles, accounting for nearly half of all the vehicles checked (45%)
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