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Cyprus

Long waiting lists for tests increasing the number of illegal drivers

Would-be drivers now have to wait for up to five months before getting a chance at a driving licence

Teenage learner drivers are increasingly tempted to drive illegally because a shortage of examiners means a waiting list to take their test of five months or more, Limassol driving instructors said on Wednesday.

Limassol driving examiners will gather for two hours outside the road transport department offices on March 15 to protest over the lack of staff.

Though two examiners were recently seconded from Paphos to Limassol after a letter was sent to the transport ministry on February 11, a severe shortage of examiners remains.

Would-be drivers now have to wait for up to five months before getting a chance at a driving licence.

The head of the association of driving school owners, Simos Koufallis, said on Wednesday the existing four examiners are not enough to cope with the large number of requests for a driving test.

Waiting lists are now until the end of July, and the problem is expected to escalate early in the summer, when applications almost double due to students returning from abroad and graduating pupils.

If candidates fail, they have to wait for another five months before trying again.

This, he stressed, means many young learner drivers are tempted to drive without a licence and insurance.

Over the past ten years, 11 examiners have left the road transport department, culminating in 2018 when three of them retired within three months.

Since then, the department has remained understaffed.

Although the department has recently looked into recruiting new staff, this is time consuming, Koufallis said, calling on the transport ministry to deal with the problem now.

 

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