DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 - Quarter 4 Report

Date published: 29 May 2019

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q4’ report, containing statistics for January to March 2019, is now available.

DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q4 image
DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q4 now published

The publication is produced by the DVA Statistics Branch of the Department for Infrastructure and contains summary statistical, performance and trend information relating to the main functions of the DfI’s Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) and other vehicle licensing activity.

The publication is available on the DfI website at:


The key points in the report are:

Vehicle Testing

The DVA conducted just over 1.09 million vehicle tests during 2018/19, an increase of 1.8% compared to last year, and the highest figure in our time series.  The pass-rate for full tests was 81.8%, an increase on the 80.9% in each of the past two years, and the highest pass-rate on record.

Vehicle Licensing

For the 2018 calendar year, there were approximately 51,500 new private-car registrations in Northern Ireland.  This is 5% less than the figure recorded for 2017.  The most popular make was Ford (13%), whilst white was the most popular colour (20%) and petrol was the most popular fuel-type (57%).

There were just over 1,180,000 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland at 31st December 2018, an increase of 1.9% on last year.  The overwhelming majority (83%) were cars.

Driver Theory Tests

Approximately 72,500 theory tests were conducted during 2018/19, an increase of 2.3% compared to last year, and the second-highest total in our time series.  The pass-rate for private-car theory tests was 46%, a small decrease on last year, and the lowest annual figure recorded in our series.

Driving Practical Tests

The DVA conducted just under 58,000 driving tests during 2018/19, broadly unchanged from the number conducted in the previous year.  The pass-rate for these tests was 58.8%, the highest annual pass-rate in our time-series.

Driver Licensing

Over a quarter of a million licensing transactions were carried out by DVA during 2018/19.  This represents a decrease of approximately 18.6% in comparison with the volume carried out in 2017/18.  As the period of validity of a driving licence changed from 3 years to 10 years in 1985, this has resulted in a significant cyclical pattern with a peak renewal period during the middle of each decade.

At the 31st March 2019, there were almost 1,107,000 full and eligible licence holders with private-cars / light vans entitlement.  This was a rise of 1.4% compared with the total twelve months ago.

Road Transport Licensing

At the 31st March 2019, there were approximately 10,300 licensed taxi drivers, down by 9.4% when compared with the same point of 2018.  Similarly, there were nearly 8,800 licensed taxi vehicles, down 1.7% on 2018.  For both drivers and vehicles, these represent the lowest figures in our series.


During 2018/19, DVA Enforcement staff checked just over 5,000 vehicles, 14% less than in 2017/18, and the lowest figure in our time-series.  Of these, the largest volume was for HGVs, accounting for over two fifths of all the vehicles checked (43%).

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

For the 2018/19 financial year, Agency performance against all three targets was below the target level.  Vehicle testing dropped for the fifth quarter in a row, finishing the year on 82.2%.  Driver testing ended the year on 85.0%, meaning this Agency target has been missed in four out of the last five years.  The Driver licensing target finished on 93.5%.

Notes to editors: 

Background to Driver & Vehicle Agency ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’

  1. This is the eighteenth edition of the quarterly publication ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to January to March 2019.  The release is written and issued by the DVA Statistics Branch in the Department for Infrastructure.  
  2. Quarterly comparisons are included within the release to give some indication of change since the same quarter the previous year; however this is within the context that DVA schedules its operations across the business year to meet its business objectives.  Timing and scheduling differences between individual quarters within different years will occasionally produce apparent large movements in trend.  For a better understanding of changes in DVA volumes and performance over time, annual trend data in the tables should be reviewed.
  3. Data sources - The figures are derived mainly from administrative sources held within the DVA and the DfI’s Transport Regulation Unit. 
  4. Vehicle Registration - Although no longer the responsibility of DVA, for completeness and to provide continuity of reporting, detailed figures have been included in this publication relating to vehicle first registrations and vehicle licensing.  DVA statisticians receive, on a quarterly basis, quality assured vehicle registration and licensing extracts from the DVLA/DfT for the purposes of producing Official Statistics.  The DVLA/DfT are, and continue to be, responsible for all vehicle licensing and registration enquiries.  Due to publication timing differences with the DfT, who release the headline UK figures; the latest available NI vehicle first registration figures are up to end-December 2018.
  5. Future publication dates - The Driver & Vehicle Agency ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics’ is published every quarter at pre-announced release dates, which are available from the GOV.UK website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/announcements
  6. Publication copies - Electronic copies of the ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q4’ can be downloaded from: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/driver-vehicle-agency-activity-statistics
  7. Both a companion Infographic, and a detailed User Guidance document, are also available on our website at: https://www.infrastructure-ni.gov.uk/articles/driver-vehicle-agency-activity-statistics   

Official Statistics

This is a National Statistics publication and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. You can find further information about the Code of Practice at:


Further Information

For further information please contact:

DVA Statistics Branch,
Driver and Vehicle Agency,
Annex 4, Belfast Test Centre
66 Balmoral Road,
BT12 6QL

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