The Driving Test

The Driving Test

‘Learning to Drive’

The Theory Test

The learner driver theory test was introduced in 2001. By law, before applying for a learner permit, candidates must complete and pass a test of their general road safety knowledge and motoring legislation. It applies to anyone applying for a first learner permit in any vehicle category.

The test is designed to check knowledge of topics such as:

  • Rules of the Road
  • Risk perception
  • Eco-driving
  • Hazard awareness
  • Good driving behaviour

The test is computer-based but, like the fast check-in kiosks at airports, is designed for those who have little or no experience of using computers as well as those who do.

You will have a chance to take a practice session on the day before starting on the actual test. If you have special needs please contact the Driver Theory Service and explain your requirements.

Driver Theory Service contact:
1890 606 106 (English language)
1890 606 806 (Irish language)
1890 616 216 (text phone – for the hearing-impaired)

There is a separate theory test for driving instructors:
Approved Driving Instructors (ADI)

For all information on the Driver Theory Test and to book your test, go to the official RSA site at theorytest.ie.

Study Material

There are two books:

‘The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers, Motorcycles, Cars and Work Vehicles – 6th Edition, October 2013’, which covers all learning material for Car/Work Vehicles and Motorcycles (Note: You can still study The Official Driver Theory Test Book and CD-Rom 5th Edition for the Car/Work Vehicle and Motorcycle categories.) and;

The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers, Truck & Buses (including Step 1 and Step 2 of Driver CPC) – 6th Edition 2013’, which covers all learning material for Bus and Truck Theory Tests and Driver CPC Case Study Test.

There are two study CD-Rom’s:

‘The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers, Motorcycles, Cars and Work Vehicles – 6th Edition, October 2013’, which covers all learning material for Car/Work Vehicles and Motorcycles and;

‘The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers, Truck & Buses (including Step 1 and Step 2 of Driver CPC) – 6th Edition 2013’, which covers all learning material for Bus and Truck Theory Tests and Driver CPC Case Study Tests (including the combined and modular tests).

The supporting learning materials are currently widely available from all good bookshops across the country or to purchase online at www.theorytest.ie The CD provides ‘Practice Tests’ which simulate the real exam experience and allows candidates to gauge their learning progress.

There is one Online Learning Resource:

We are delighted to announce a new product; The Official Driver Theory Test Online is a web-based training solution that combines all the latest tools and resources to help you, PASS FIRST TIME! The online app has been launched by Prometric on behalf of the RSA. The web-based training solution offers you unlimited access to the Official Driver Theory Test learning material, and also tracks your progress as you learn. In addition, you will be able to complete Official Driver Theory Test sample tests ensuring you are fully prepared and confident on the day of your theory test. To try it out go to www.officialdttonline.ie and register today! The app works on pcs, tablets & smartphones.

Rules of the Road

The purpose of the Rules of the Road is to save lives and prevent injury on our roads. The rules apply to all road users:

  • Drivers
  • Pedestrians
  • Motorcyclists
  • Horse-riders
  • Cyclists

You must have a satisfactory knowledge of these rules to get a driving licence (as assessed by the Driver Theory Test), but learning about road safety doesn’t stop once you pass a driving test. It’s an ongoing requirement; you need to constantly update your skills and knowledge and be aware of changes to road traffic laws.

The current Rules of the Road comply with and reflect the road traffic law as at 1st March 2007. It is important to check this website for updates in case of rule changes. Link to rules of the road booklet 

Remember: driving is a life skill that requires lifelong learning.

Finding an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)

What is an ADI?

Since 30th April 2009, driving instruction in Ireland has been a regulated industry. The regulations cover standard of instruction, examinations to be passed as well as penalties for breaches of the law.

To work as a driving instructor in Ireland, an instructor must be on the RSA’s Register of Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) and must display an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) permit. To become registered and get an ADI full permit, each instructor is assessed by the RSA to ensure they have the necessary:

  • Knowledge of rules of the road and road safety
  • Driving ability
  • Ability to teach a learner driver

For your protection, ADIs also undergo Garda vetting.
What this means for you, as a learner driver, is better, more consistent standards and therefore better instruction.

Finding an instructor

So far, over 1,500 instructors nationwide have been approved by the RSA and are now listed on the RSA Register. The RSA maintains a list of full ADI permit holders across the country, which learner drivers can use to select an ADI close to where they live.

Resources for Accessibility

Learning to drive videos

Compulsory Training Sessions – Essential Driver Training (EDT)

What is Essential Driver Training?
Essential Driver Training (EDT) is a mandatory training course that teaches fundamental driving skills to learner car drivers. It is part of the RSA’s Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) scheme and is intended to improve road safety.EDT is only part of the learning process, you will need lots of practice and may need more lessons to become a safe driver.

Why do I need EDT?
Studies show that young drivers and inexperienced drivers are more likely to die or be seriously injured in collisions, and EDT is one of several measures introduced by the RSA to help improve critical driving knowledge, skills and behaviours of new drivers.

If the issue date of your first B category (Car) learner permit is on or after 4 April 2011, in order to be able to sit your full driving test, you must first complete all EDT sessions.

If you are not required to complete EDT, you may still choose to take an EDT course, as it can help increase your chances of passing the driving test and will help make you a better safer driver.

What does EDT involve?
EDT is a course of 12 one-hour sessions. These sessions are designed to cover certain critical driving skills and improve your practical driving skills.

As you complete each session, your Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) will record your progress in a specially issued logbook.

You should also have a Sponsor, an experienced driver (many learner drivers choose a family member) who will supervise your driving practice outside of sessions, and will also track your progress in your logbook.

After you finish your EDT course, you may still need additional lessons with an ADI to improve your driving skills. Additionally, you should practice with your Sponsor as much as possible to get comfortable behind the wheel.

What does EDT cost?

There is no set charge for EDT sessions and each ADI sets their own fees. The RSA recommends that you ring several ADI’s to enquire about the fees and also to see if the ADI is right for you. Recommendations from family and friends may also prove useful in helping you to make your choice. The EDT logbook has a cover price of €5 which may be payable to your ADI for either an original or replacement logbook.

IMPORTANT NOTE – many learners avoid paying for driving sessions in advance to avoid any problems such as changing driving instructors or being unable to book further lessons to suit their own availability.

Find an ADI

EDT can only be delivered by an RSA-approved instructor, an ADI. To find an available ADI, look on the ADI register. You may switch ADIs during the EDT course, but remember to get your current ADI to sign off on your completed lessons before you make any changes.

Benefits of EDT

Completing your essential driver training course will help you to:

  • understand what it means to be a better safer driver.
  • practice your driving skills in a structured way that is focussed on your own learning needs.
  • develop lifelong skills that will make you a better safer driver.

The Driving Test

Driver testing in Ireland is carried out directly by the Road Safety Authority to a standard that complies with the EU Directive on Driving Licences

Cost

Category Fee
A, A2, A1, B, BE, AM,W €85
All other categories €120
CPC Driving Test (Bus and Truck Category) €152
(Driving Test Part 1- €120,Part 2- €32)

You can now apply and pay for your driving test online. You will need a credit card to do this (Visa or Mastercard) or a debit card(Laser) plus a valid e-mail address. Alternatively, you can download a driving test application form here, or obtain a copy from any motor tax office.

Payment should be made by cheque, postal order or money order. These should be crossed and made payable to the Road Safety Authority. The correct fee must accompany your completed application form. Fees are non-transferable. If, after making a driving test application, you do not wish to proceed with the application, you may apply within 14 days of payment for a refund of your test fee (provided you are not scheduled for an appointment within that time).

What must I do?

To do the test, you must have held a valid learner permit for at least six months on the day of the test for cars, motorcyclists and works vehicles (in the case of a first time learner permit holders, the code 991 will be printed under the restrictions/information section on your learner permit opposite the vehicle category) . You must also have the use of a suitable vehicle. Also mandatory car lessons may apply to you, see information on Initial Basic Training (IBT) for Motorcyclists and Essential Driver Training (EDT) for car drivers.

Preparing for your driving test

Do:

Don’t:

  • Unnecessarily obstruct traffic or annoy other road users
  • Practise on driving test routes for the most part; congestion on these routes causes inconvenience to residents and test applicants alike

Your appointment

Appointments for driving tests are organised on a first-come-first-served basis approximately one month in advance of your test. This will indicate the time, date and venue for the test together with conditions which must be met. Please read this notice carefully as it may help avoid problems on the day of the test.

It will also set out the arrangements for cancelling your appointment should this prove necessary.

If you apply online, you may be able to schedule your own test appointment if there are slots available.

Testing is conducted out of many test centres throughout the country. Where possible, your test will be arranged for the centre you nominate on your application form.

You can apply for your driving test to be conducted through Irish (just complete the Irish language version of the application form and submit as normal.

How to apply for the driving test

Driving Test Application Requirements
You can apply for a driving test online or by post. Please note you cannot apply for your driving test by phone.

 Before applying for your driving test online:

  • Verify that you are eligible to sit your test — 6 month rule.
  • Make sure you have taken the mandatory lessons for certain motorcyclists (IBT) or car drivers (EDT)
  • Know your current, valid driver number.
  • Know your PPS number—this can be found on tax documents or your pay slip and it is often on correspondence from a social welfare or tax office.
  • You must have a valid debit or credit card (Visa and Mastercard are currently accepted).
  • If you are applying by post payments can be made by cheque, postal order or bank draft.

Apply Online Now

Contact

Having problems applying online? Click here to view our Frequently Asked Questions.

Your driver number is unique to you for all your licence records and can be obtained from the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS).

You can contact the NDLS online here, or by phone at 076 – 1087880

If you are still having problems applying for your test online, you may contact our driving test section by emailing DrivingTest@rsa.ie

Waiting Times

We aim to have a national average waiting time for a driving test of no longer than 10 weeks. Our ability to meet this target depends on the number of applications received.   Accordingly, the average waiting time in driving test centres may vary above or below this 10-week target.

The current average waiting time for a Category B (car/light van) driving test, per test centre, based on the waiting times of applicants who had a test appointment during the last 4 weeks, are available here.

Please note: The average waiting time is an average of current waiting times for applicants at each Test Centre. Applicants will have waiting times both longer and shorter than the average. The longest waiting time per Test Centre is also shown in the table below.

Quick tests

We know that a person may need to take a test urgently. We can usually facilitate this and it helps if you are available for a test appointment at short notice

We often have slots that have been cancelled that are available for a person who can take a test with notice from a few hours to a few days.

If this is suitable for you, please note on your application that you are available for short notice cancellation.

6 Month Rule

6 Month Rule: How long you need to hold a learner permit before you can apply for a test

What is it
First-time learner permit holders (in certain categories) must wait six months after the date of issue of the particular licence category before they can sit their driving test. In the past, some people took the test shortly after getting their first learner permit and research has shown that the more practice and experience a person gets, the better a driver they become.

This is particularly important if you have added a licence category to your permit as it is the date the category was added that is relevant not the date that your permit was issued.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have checked your permit details and that you are eligible to sit the test.

If you apply and turn up to sit your test and you are not eligible then you will lose your fee and have to re apply.

Who does it apply to: It applies to first-time learner permit holders for:

  • cars
  • motorcycles
  • works vehicles (eg, tractors, JCBs)

Exemptions

Where you opt to take Progressive Access (where you have held the lower category for a minimum of 2 years) from category A1 to A2 or Category A2 to A and wish to take a driving test, you do not need to wait six months to sit the driving test.

A holder of a current valid full driving licence from another country (jurisdiction) for more than six months is exempt from this requirement, provided you forward a current valid original driving licence and a letter of entitlement from the relevant licensing authority in that country to the:

Customer Service Manager:
Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo.

email: drivingtest@rsa.ie
tel: 1890 40 60 40

Applicants are advised to forward their original licence by registered post.

A letter of entitlement refers to a copy of a driver record with details of name, address, date of birth, driver number, date of expiry of licence and class of licence to include details of what that class refers to.

How do I know when my six months are up?

If you look at your learner permit you will see the code 991 on the restriction column and then also the date that the permit was issued for your particular licence category – You need to add 6 months to this date of issue.

Example:

In the example below, you can see a plastic card learner permit which has been issued on the 30th January 2013, and the holder of the learner permit cannot sit their driving test until on or after the 30th July 2013 i.e. six months after the date of issue of the category.

Why was it introduced?

Research shows that the longer a learner is supervised while driving, the less likely they are to be involved in a collision.

The rule was introduced into the Rules of the Road in 2007

It allows a learner driver to become a more experienced, and therefore most likely a safer, driver.

Driving Test Centres

Find a test centre

Pass Rates

Details of pass rates by test centre for 2017

Pass Rate 2017 %
Athlone 59.19
Ballina 57.99
Birr 52.32
Buncrana 57.83
Carlow 49.71
Carrick-on-Shannon 62.60
Castlebar 56.53
Cavan 55.66
Churchtown 44.44
Clifden 64.46
Clonmel 51.08
Cork 48.80
Donegal 57.61
Dundalk 51.97
Dungarvan 52.94
Ennis 64.78
Finglas 46.12
Galway 61.32
Gorey 55.92
Kilkenny 45.65
Killarney 61.50
Kilrush 67.41
Letterkenny 57.41
Limerick 58.38
Longford 55.73
Loughrea 53.91
Mallow 61.23
Monaghan 56.18
Mullingar 59.78
Naas 52.56
Navan 54.62
Nenagh 51.26
Newcastle West 71.75
Portlaoise 52.26
Raheny 44.01
Roscommon 64.82
Shannon 50.07
Skibbereen 62.30
Sligo 65.86
Tallaght 47.19
Thurles 52.88
Tipperary 53.57
Tralee 63.18
Tuam 63.14
Tullamore 57.01
Waterford 57.02
Wexford 55.07
Wicklow 49.18
Overall Average 52.90

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the changes to the unaccompanied driver laws

What is the new legislation?

It has already been the case that it is against the law to drive unaccompanied on a learner permit. On 22 December 2018 legislation takes effect that means that a learner driver who should be accompanied, but is driving unaccompanied, is liable to have their vehicle impounded. This is in addition to the penalties which applied prior to this change which means you could incur up to four penalty points and face a fine up to €120. The changes being introduced also mean that where the unaccompanied learner is not the vehicle owner, the owner faces the vehicle being impounded and a fine of up to €1,000. An accompanying driver must have held a full driving licence for the vehicle for at least two years.

Why the changes?

The purpose of these changes is to highlight the dangers of driving unaccompanied. Learner permit holders driving unaccompanied pose a danger to themselves and other road users. Unaccompanied learner permit holders are among the most vulnerable road users because of their inexperience and the greater likelihood to take risks on the road. It is also recognised that the most effective way to practice learning to drive is through the guidance and support of the accompanying driver.

According to statistics, 35 of the 47 fatal crashes involving learner drivers between 2014 and 2017 involved unaccompanied drivers. That is a shockingly high statistic. These laws will act as a strong deterrent and force those who might consider lending their car irresponsibly to an unaccompanied learner to think more seriously about the consequences.

Who does this new legislation apply to?

The new unaccompanied driver legislation applies to everyone driving on a learner permit and who must be accompanied. It does not apply to motorcycle learners or to tractor learners unless there is a passenger seat in the tractor being driven

What date is the legislation effective from?

The legislation is effective from 22 December 2018.

Why is this legislation only being enforced now?

This particular piece of legislation to allow a car to be impounded is only effective from 22 December 2018 and therefore could not have been enforced before now. It has generally been a requirement for all learner drivers to be accompanied and related penalties have been applied up to now.

Does the legislation apply to non-Irish licence holders?

The legislation is applicable to learner permit holders and therefore only applicable to Irish learner permit holders. A non-Irish learner permit/provisional licence holders is not authorised to drive in Ireland. They must have a valid full driving licence when driving as a visitor or a resident, otherwise they are committing an offence of driving without a licence.

Does this legislation apply to first time learner permit holders only?

No, this legislation applies to all learner permit holders who must be accompanied, regardless of how many learner permits you have held. It does not apply to motorcycle learners or to tractor learners unless there is a passenger seat in the tractor being driven.

What will happen if I am stopped by the Gardaí driving unaccompanied on a learner permit?

You could incur up to four penalty points and face a fine up to €120 as well as having your vehicle impounded. If the vehicle you are driving does not belong to you the vehicle owner may face a fine of up to €1,000 and the vehicle may also be impounded.

What if I have the permission of the car owner and I drive unaccompanied on a learner permit?

If you drive unaccompanied even with the permission of the owner of the car then you face prosecution. The changes in legislation mean the owner of the vehicle faces the possibility of the vehicle being impounded and a fine of up to €1,000. You could incur up to four penalty points and face a fine up to €120.

My car was impounded, and consent was not given by me for the learner driver to use my car, how do I get my car back?

Contact your local Garda Station as this is a matter for the Gardaí. The legislation allows a vehicle owner whose vehicle is driven by a learner driver to make a defence in Court that the vehicle was taken without his consent. It may be open to Gardaí to charge the driver with offences relating to taking the car without consent. There is a fee to release the vehicle, it is €125 for the first day and €35 for a whole or part of each subsequent day.

What if I am driving to collect a driver with a full licence to accompany me?

You must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver (a person who has held a full driving licence for the vehicle for at least two years) at all times while driving on a learner permit. This does not apply to motorcycle learners or to tractor learners unless there is a passenger seat in the tractor being driven.

I have done my driving test and failed and am waiting for another test appointment, can I drive unaccompanied?

No, the law states that while you are driving on a learner permit you must be accompanied at all times by a fully licensed driver.

If I have evidence of an upcoming driving test date, will that suffice?

No, you must have passed your driving test and be in possession of your full driving licence to drive unaccompanied.

Are there penalty points attached to this offence?

Yes, driving unaccompanied was a penalty point offence and continues to be a penalty point offence in addition to the changes implemented on 22 December 2018. If a person accepts the penalty point offence 2 penalty points are applied to your licence and a fixed charge of up to €120 applies. If convicted in Court 4 penalty points apply together with a fixed charge of €120.

Is there an age limit on having to be accompanied by a qualified driver?

No, if you are a learner driver you need to be accompanied by a fully licensed driver regardless of your age.

Is there a lead in time – to allow me to apply and sit my driving test and get my full licence?

No, it has already been an offence to drive on a learner permit unaccompanied.

If I have a full licence from a country that doesn’t have a licensing exchange agreement with Ireland and I have taken out a learner permit here to do my test does this law apply to me?

Yes it does. When you take out a learner permit in this country for the reason stated above you must adhere to all conditions of holding a learner permit including being accompanied by a fully licensed driver at all times.

I only use my car for short journeys, does the law apply to me?

Yes, the law applies to everyone driving on a learner permit regardless of how much you use your car or the distance you would be driving.

Why are these measures being described as the ‘Clancy Amendment’?

The measures are known as the Clancy Amendment and recognise the contribution of Mr. Noel Clancy in his efforts to bring about this change. Mr. Clancy lost his wife and daughter in a crash involving an unaccompanied learner driver. Geraldine Clancy (58) and Louise Clancy (22) were killed in the collision on 22 December 2015.

If none of the above refer to you and you are unable to apply online, you can download an application form from our website.

Complete the application form and include details of your driver number and post to:

The Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
Primrose Hill,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo,
Eircode: F26 V6E4


Get InTouch

If you have a further query, please contact us via our web form using the link below.

Go to RSA Web Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about the Driving Test

I have applied for and am awaiting a driving test; what is the waiting time and can I get an early appointment?

The current waiting times for tests are available at www.rsa.ie/waitingtimes. If you have a query in relation to your application, you can contact the RSA at www.rsa.ie/contactus.

There is a long waiting time for a driving test in my preferred test centre, what can I do?

There is a facility when you are making your application for a driving test to look for an available test date at the time of application. If you do not find a suitable slot you can request for your application to be placed on the short notice list. This will be granted subject to availability. You can also contact the RSA at www.rsa.ie/contactus. If you are already on the short notice waiting list there is no facility to go back online to check for a slot but you will be contacted if a short notice appointment becomes available.

Do I have to go to the test centre nearest me or can I choose an alternative?

You can choose to do your driving test in any of our driving test centres. When applying for the test you can choose your preferred test centre.

There is a long waiting time for a driving test in my preferred test centre, what is the RSA doing about this?

The RSA has recruited 52 extra driver testers in 2018 to carry out driving tests for those learner permit holders who feel they are ready to take the driving test and waiting times for a test are currently falling. We also plan to recruit additional driver testers in 2019.

I’m very nervous about doing a test – what should I do?

If you are nervous or feel you may not have reached the driving standard to pass the driving test we urge you to contact an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and take further driving lessons. The RSA has engaged with ADIs to advise that learner drivers may need additional support following the introduction of the new legislation. You will find a list of registered ADIs here.

The RSA has created a dedicated site with lots of supporting information about how to pass the test- it includes videos about taking the test- you will find all that information at www.passthetest.ie.

If I have taken my driving test and passed can I drive unaccompanied while I’m waiting on my driving licence to be returned from NDLS?

No, to drive unaccompanied you have to be in possession of your full driving licence.

Can I take my test in the evening or at the weekend?

We currently do driving tests on Saturday in many test centres. We will be conducting tests later in the evenings as the daylight hours increase.

I’ve received my test date, how do I prepare for my test?

Do:

  • Study the Rules of the Road booklet
  • Study the Preparing for your test booklet
  • Use the services of an approved driving instructor (ADI)
  • Check out our advice on this site
  • Practice driving on all types of road and in all types of traffic situations, including driving at night
  • Build up your driving experience and confidence before applying for your test
  • Study the “Learning to Drive” suite of manuals for car, bike, bus and truck, available at book shops nationwide.

Don’t:

  • Unnecessarily obstruct traffic or annoy other road users
  • Practise on driving test routes for the most part; congestion on these routes causes inconvenience to residents and test applicants alike
Does the six month rule (having to have held a learner permit for six months before doing a driving test) still apply if I have to be accompanied?

Yes the six month rule will still apply.

I had an appointment for my driving test which was cancelled by the RSA what can I do to get a further quick appointment?

In cases where the RSA have had to cancel a driving test we prioritise those cases for an early appointment.

I need my car for college/work, and find it difficult/impossible to find an accompanying driver - what can I do?

If you need your car for college/work you can get your application for a driving test put on a priority list/cancellation list and if you are available at short notice then we can give you an available test slot at short notice, you can contact us at www.rsa.ie/contactus.

If none of the above refer to you and you are unable to apply online, you can download an application form from our website.

Complete the application form and include details of your driver number and post to:

The Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
Primrose Hill,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo,
Eircode: F26 V6E4


Get InTouch

If you have a further query, please contact us via our web form using the link below.

Go to RSA Web Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Practical Information about the Driving Test

How do I apply for my driving test?

You can apply online at http://www.rsa.ie/Apply-online; you can apply by post application forms can be found in many Garda Stations, Libraries, Driving Test Centres, NDLS Offices. You may also print off a copy of an application form here.

What is the cost of a driving test?

The driving test fees are:

Vehicle  Fee
Motorcycle/Tractor €85
All other Vehicles €120
CPC Driving Test (Bus and Truck Category) €152 (Driving Test Part 1- €120,
Part 2- €32
What is my driver number and how do I get one?

All learner permit holders are allocated a driver number. Your driver number is a nine-digit number found on your learner permit at 4d on the face of the permit. It is given you to when you first apply for a learner permit and it is the same driver number for all your licensing records.

What is Essential Driver Training (EDT) and do I have to do it?

Essential Driver Training(EDT) is a training course teaching fundamental driving skills to learner car drivers. EDT is mandatory for all learners who took out their first learner permit on or after 4 April 2011.

How much do EDT lessons cost?

The RSA does not set the charges for EDT lessons. It is a matter for each driving instructor (ADI) to set fees for their services. However, if you ring around and ask several ADIs what they are charging before you start your lessons, you should have a good idea whether or not you are getting good value for money.

How do I find my Approved Driving Instructor (ADI)?

EDT is delivered by Approved Driving Instructors. You will find details of ADIs located across the country here. You can choose any ADI that provides EDT for cars. Your ADI will give you a logbook in which your EDT lessons and progress will be recorded. If you need to, you can change ADIs.

Will I lose my fee if I cancel or reschedule my driving test appointment?

You won’t lose your fee and we will reschedule your test appointment provided you have not cancelled two or more driving test appointments on foot of this application and you give at least 10 days’ notice.

What documentation do I need for my driving test?

On the day of the test you are required to bring your learner permit to the test. You will be asked to sign a declaration stating that you are insured to drive the car you are using for the test. The car itself must display a current tax disc, insurance disc and a valid NCT disc if it is required. Please ensure you have read the ‘Checklist for your driving test’ booklet which issues with appointment notifications.

I have just received my learner permit, can I apply for the test straight away?

Yes you can apply straight away when you receive your first learner permit. You will not be entitled to sit your driving test until you have held that permit for a minimum of six months and a driving test appointment will not issue to you until that six months is up.

How do I know if the six months are up?

On the back of your learner permit there is a start date across from the vehicle category that you have the learner permit in. The six months is up six months after that date.

How do I update my details on my driving test application?

If you wish to update your personal details, please email www.rsa.ie/contactus.

I missed my test what do I do?

If you do not attend for your test without cancelling then your fee will be forfeit and you will have to reapply for another test. An exception is made in cases where you were ill and submit a medical certificate, or where weather conditions were too dangerous for you to attend and you inform us of this, in those situations we will rearrange another appointment.

I failed my test, how soon can I get a repeat test?

When you fail your driving test you have to reapply. Generally, the earliest you can get a driving test after failing is at least three weeks afterwards.

I failed the test what do I do now?

If you fail your test, the tester will give you a report detailing aspects of your driving that caused you to fail. The tester will provide you with some feedback at the end of the test.  Due to time constraints, this feedback will be brief and will focus on the main areas of note in relation to your driving test. A detailed report issues by email or post (depending on your preferred method of correspondence) following the test. You should discuss this report with your driving instructor who can advise on how you should work on the areas of your driving that need attention. You will also receive a certificate indicating that you failed the test; keep it in a safe place as you may need it to renew your learner permit.

If you wish to apply for a further test, you can apply at http://www.rsa.ie/Apply-online.

If you have recently failed a driving test, you will generally be unable to schedule a further test for a period of three weeks.  If you do not wish to select a test date or if a test date is not available, we will schedule your test appointment for you.

I failed my test and want to appeal the decision, what is the process?

If you wish to appeal, you can do so through the District Court under Article 33 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961. The Court cannot reverse the decision of the driver tester, but if it finds that the test was not properly conducted it can direct that a further test is arranged free of charge

I’m starting a new job and I need a driving licence, are there any options available to me?

You can apply for the test and asked to be put on a cancellation list and if you are available at short notice we can usually provide a test slot for you, you can contact us at www.rsa.ie/contactus.

I don’t own a car, can I hire a car for the test?

Most Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) hire vehicles for the driving test. If you plan to hire a car from a hire company you need to get a confirmation note from the hire company indicating that the car is insured for the driving test. This must be given to the driver tester on the day of the test.

Is there a walk-in service for the driving test?

No you must apply for your driving test either online or by post and if you need an urgent test then if you contact us we will try to accommodate you but there is no facility to just go to the centre looking for a test.

How long does the driving test take?

The driving test for a car takes approximately 50 minutes and that includes the oral questions, car checks, the driving part and the results and feedback.

Can I drive unaccompanied to my test?

No, you must be always accompanied by a fully licensed driver (a person who holds a full driving licence for the vehicle for a period of at least two years) at all times while driving on a learner permit. This does not apply to motorcycle or tractor learner drivers.

My learner permit is about to expire, what do I do?

You need to have a current learner permit in order to sit your driving test. If you need to renew your learner permit you need to apply to the National Driver Licensing Service (NDLS) see www.ndls.ie for full information.

Where do I get a copy of the Rules of the Road?

Copies of the newly updated Rules of the Road book are available through  all good bookshops, priced €5. A downloadable PDF version of the book is also available here.

How do I find out the pass rate at a specific test centre?

Information about pass and fail rates is available on our website here.

My elderly parent/relative is struggling to pass their test, are there resources that can help older persons?

Your relative may need to do some driving lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor. They may also need to get in lots of practice to help them to prepare for the test. A list of ADIs is available here.

I’ve passed my test, how do I get my driving licence?

After you pass you test, the tester will issue you with a Certificate of Competency, which you can then exchange for a full driving licence at your local NDLS Centre. The Certificate should be submitted to the National Driver Licence Service within two years of the date of issue. Otherwise you will be required to re-sit and pass the test to obtain a full licence.

If you lose your certificate, send a statement (download the SL5A form from our website) certified by a Garda that you have lost the certificate to RSA’s Driver Testing Section and we will issue a duplicate.

Remember, passing the driving test is not the end of the learning process; continue to drive carefully and build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions.

Do I have to have L plates displayed?

Everyone driving on a learner permit must display L plates.  Your vehicle must display an ‘L’ plate front and rear. The plate should consist of a red L on a white background.

What are the rules covering “N” plates?

N Plates. A person granted a first full driving licence on or after 1st August 2014 must display N-plates on the vehicle for a period of 2 years, and during that period display N-plates on any other vehicle in respect of which they get a driving licence. There is no requirement for novice drivers to have an accompanying driver – this is still only the case for learner drivers. However, a novice driver may not act as an accompanying driver for someone who holds a learner permit.

I’m an Irish speaker, can I take the test through Irish?

Yes there is a facility when applying for your test to request to have it conducted through Irish.

If none of the above refer to you and you are unable to apply online, you can download an application form from our website.

Complete the application form and include details of your driver number and post to:

The Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
Primrose Hill,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo,
Eircode: F26 V6E4


Get InTouch

If you have a further query, please contact us via our web form using the link below.

Go to RSA Web Form

Your car

Just as you can’t play football with a burst ball or play tennis with a broken racquet, you can’t do a driving test with a sub-standard test vehicle. While you’re learning to drive, and especially on test day itself, it’s critical that your car or motorcycle is mechanically and structurally sound. Regardless of how proficient a driver you are, if your vehicle doesn’t meet the requirements on the day of the test, you will be unable to undertake your test on the day.

If you pass your test in an automatic car, you can only apply for a full driving licence to drive an automatic car. If you later want to apply for a full driving licence for a manual car, you will have to pass a test in a manual vehicle before applying for a full licence to drive it.

The checklist

Before taking your test, you should read the following publication. Checklist for your driving test (PDF)

Motor tax / NCT / Insurance

For those busily preparing for the driving test, motor tax, NCT and insurance can sometimes slip under the radar. So remember, you must have a current motor tax disc, a current insurance disc and a valid NCT disc (if required) clearly on display, a confirmation booking will not suffice.

Issues and Concerns

Any issues and concerns you have in relation to your driving test and driving licence application.

Issues and concerns
If you have any worries or concerns in relation to the driving test, it is important you talk to the RSA. Chances are your worries are without foundation but there are legitimate problems that crop up from time to time which may affect your ability to take a driving test and acquire a driving licence afterwards.

Medical issues
There are some medical conditions and disabilities that require a medical report to be produced before a driving licence can be issued.

Accessibility
If you have a disability, you will need to notify us in advance of the test so we can make the necessary arrangements.

Interpreters
If you cannot speak English, are deaf or hard of hearing, you are permitted to have an interpreter with you for the first (oral) part of the test. This person must not be your driving instructor, and may not accompany you during the practical element of the test.

For further information on driving tests contact:
Driver Testing Section,
Road Safety Authority,
Moy Valley Business Park,
Primrose Hill Dublin Road,
Ballina,
Co. Mayo.

Lo-call (from within Ireland): 1890 40 60 40
Outside Ireland, Tel: +353 96 25000
Fax: +353 96 78290
E-mail: drivingtest@rsa.ie

Cancel Your Test

What happens if you get your date for your driving test but you can’t go on that day?
If you can’t sit your test on the date you’ve been given, you can cancel that test and apply for another one.

Important considerations
If you can’t sit your test on the date you’ve been given, you can cancel that test and apply for another one. However, if you do cancel the test, at present we can’t offer you the option to choose a specific alternative date or time. So please don’t cancel your test just to try for a different date or time.

If you have cancelled 2 or more driving test appointments in the past or if you give us less than 10 days’ notice before your test appointment, your application will be cancelled and you will have to reapply and pay again for a new driving test appointment.

Please note that if you want us to re-schedule your test it may be some time before we have another test slot available for you.

If you do need to cancel your test, it’s really important that you tell us as soon as possible. If you tell us early enough, we will be able to give your time slot to someone else who urgently needs a test.

How do I avoid losing my application fee?
You won’t lose your fee and we will reschedule your test appointment if:

  • you have not cancelled 2 or more driving test appointments in the past and
  • you give at least 10 days’ notice

What should I do next?

  • If you still need to cancel your test, click here and follow the instructions on the screen.
  • If you are having difficulty completing the cancellation yourself, then please click here.

Repeating Your Test

Common reasons why people fail driving tests, what to do if you do fail, and who to appeal to if you don’t agree with the tester’s decision

Repeating your test

If you fail your test, the tester will give you a report detailing aspects of your driving that caused you to fail. The tester will provide you with some feedback at the end of the test. Due to time constraints, this feedback will be brief and will focus on the main areas of note in relation to your driving test.

You will also receive a certificate indicating that you failed the test; keep it in a safe place as you may need it to renew your learner permit.

If you wish to apply for a further test, application forms are available at test centres or on this website. It does occasionally happen that you will be scheduled with the same tester but this will not happen repeatedly as a matter of RSA policy.

If you have recently failed a driving test, you will be unable to schedule a driving test for a period of three weeks. If you do not wish to select a test date or if a test date is not available, we will schedule your test appointment for you and send you the details at a later stage.

Appealing a failed test

If you feel you have been failed unfairly and want to challenge the decision, you can appeal to the District Court under Article 33 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961. The Court can examine whether or not the test was conducted properly and if it finds that the tester did not conduct the test in accordance with procedures can direct that a further test be offered to you free of charge.

Why candidates fail
The following are the most common reasons why people fail driving tests:

  • Inadequate observation moving off, at junctions, at roundabouts and when changing lanes
  • Failure to anticipate the actions of other drivers
  • Incorrect road position on the straight, on bends, turning left, turning right, at roundabouts, and when overtaking
  • Inadequate progress at junctions, roundabouts, on the straight, and when overtaking
  • Incorrect or inadequate use of mirrors and signals
  • Non-compliance with traffic controls, eg road signs and markings and traffic lights
  • Incorrect, inadequate or inappropriate use of vehicle controls, including gears, clutch, accelerator, steering, handbrake, footbrake, and secondary controls
  • Excessive speed for the road or traffic conditions
  • Failure to yield the right of way to others
  • Lack of competence in the reverse and U-turn manoeuvres
  • Common faults by motorcyclists include:
  • Failure to perform a U-turn correctly
  • Inadequate control at slow speed
  • Inadequate observations to the rear
  • Incorrect or inadequate hand signals

If you fail your test, the best way to get through next time is to study the Rules of the Road and the Learner Driver suite of manuals and get as much practice as possible in all types of traffic situations.

Renewing learner permits

A learner permit can be renewed once. However, if you want to apply for a third or subsequent learner permit, you must either:

  • Have undergone a driving test within the previous two years, or
  • Provide medical evidence showing why you were unable to take a test, or
  • Provide evidence that you have an appointment for a driving test prior to the new permit being issued
  • Contact the National Driver Licence Service (NDLS) at info@ndls.ie or visit the website here for any queries in relation to learner permits.

After you pass

How to get your full driving licence after passing your test.

After you pass
After you pass you test, the tester will issue you with a Certificate of Competency, which you can then exchange for a full driving licence at your local NDLS Centre.

The certificate should be submitted to the National Driver Licence Service  within two years of the date of issue. Otherwise you will be required to re-sit and pass the test to obtain a full licence.

If you lose your certificate, send a statement (download the SL5A form) certified by a Garda that you have lost the certificate to RSA’s Driver Testing Section and we will issue a duplicate.

Remember: passing the driving test is not the end of the learning process; continue to drive carefully and build up your experience in different traffic, weather, lighting and road conditions.

Novice Plates

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has announced changes to the driver licensing system that apply to newly qualified novice drivers and first time learner permit holders.

These changes are important road safety measures that form part of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, one of the key actions in the current and previous Government Road Safety Strategies aimed at improving how we train, test and licence learner and novice drivers.

The changes are as follows:

  • A person granted a first full driving licence on or after 1st August 2014 must display N-plates on the vehicle for a period of 2 years, and during that period display N-plates on any other vehicle in respect of which they get a driving licence. Where the vehicle is a motorcycle, the rider must wear an N – tabard.
  • The novice period applies only once ie someone who holds a driving licence for a category of vehicle and who after a period of two years becomes entitled to drive another category, does not become a novice in respect of the new category.
  • Non-display of N plates is an offence under traffic law and is punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a fixed change the failure to display an N-plate will carry 2 penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or 4 on conviction.
  • A lower threshold of seven penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first driving licence.
  • There is no requirement for novice drivers to have an accompanying driver – this is still only the case for learner drivers. However, a novice driver may not act as an accompanying driver for someone who holds a learner permit

The purpose of the GDL system is to reduce the number of collisions, deaths and injuries among learner and novice drivers, particularly among the high risk 17 to 24 year olds, during the learning to drive period and period immediately after they pass their test.

Research tells us that novice drivers are most likely to be killed on our roads in the first two years after passing their test due to their inexperience.

In fact, UK research has revealed that 1 in 5 newly qualified novice drivers has crashed in the first six months after passing their test. Furthermore, available evidence suggests that a driver is considered to be inexperienced until s/he has driven 100,000 kilometres.

Therefore, these measures are designed to protect our most vulnerable road-users so that they can become safe, competent and confident drivers, helping to ensure we have fewer collisions, fatalities and injuries on our roads.

Novice plates, or similar systems, are in place in many other EU countries, and these measures will help to bring Ireland closer into line with Northern Ireland, the UK and other EU jurisdictions.

Download a copy of ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ (PDF) 

Download a copy of Background to ‘Graduated Licensing System In Ireland’ (PDF)