Publication of DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q1

Date published: 13 September 2018

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q1’ report, containing statistics for April to June 2018, is now available. 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.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is available on the DfI website at:


Vehicle Testing

  • Almost 282,000 Vehicle Tests were carried out by the DVA, a decrease of over 1% compared to the equivalent quarter last year. The vast majority of these (85%) were Full Tests.
  • The overall pass rate for Full Tests was approximately 82%, a slight decrease compared with the same period last year (81%), and slightly above the trend over the past ten years.
  • The most popular booking method for vehicle test applications was the NI Direct internet booking system which received almost 72% of all applications, up from 69% three years ago.

Vehicle Licensing

  • The number of new vehicle first registrations in the period January to March 2018 showed a decrease from the equivalent period in 2017, down by over 8%. Within this, new car first registrations decreased by 11% which is over two thousand fewer registrations than that seen for the quarter in 2017.
  • The top make for private cars registered for the first time during the January to March quarter was Ford, accounting for 2,240 such registrations, whilst the second largest make was Volkswagen at almost 1,650 first registrations.  All makes in the Top Ten for car first registrations during the period showed a decrease in numbers when compared to the same period in 2017.
  • There were almost 1,167,000 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland at 31 March 2018, an increase of 2.1% on last year.  The vast majority (83%) were cars.

Driver Theory Tests

  • The number of Theory Tests conducted increased by 7.3% to 18,500. This increase follows on from the decreases seen in each of the four previous quarter-on-quarter comparisons.
  • The Theory Test pass rate for Private Cars during Q1 was 45.6%, a decrease on the previous quarter.  This figure also marks the lowest rate seen since our series began in 2012-13.

Driving Practical Tests

  • Over 16,000 Driving Test applications were submitted during April to June 2018, an increase of 3.6% on the equivalent quarter in 2017.  However during the same three-month period, the number of Driving Tests conducted decreased by 2.1% to just under 14,800.
  • The pass rate for all categories of Driving Tests was over 58%, unchanged on the rate recorded in the equivalent quarter last year.  Pass rates for all categories of vehicle remain broadly unchanged over the past five years.

Driver Licensing

  • Over 62,000 ordinary licensing transactions were carried out by DVA during April to June 2018. This represented a decrease of approximately 20% in comparison with the volume carried out in the corresponding quarter of 2017.
  • At the 30th June 2018, there were over 1,094,000 Full and Eligible license holders with Private Cars / Light Vans entitlement.  This was a rise of 1.6% compared with the total twelve months ago and 3.3% higher than the total five years ago.

Road Transport Licensing

  • At the 30th June 2018, there were over 11,100 licensed Taxi Drivers, down by 5% when compared with the same point of 2017. This is a continuation of the declining trend with numbers down by over a quarter on the series high of around 15,800 recorded at the end of 2013.


  • During April to June 2018, DVA Enforcement staff checked over 1,600 vehicles; of these, the largest volume was for Heavy Goods Vehicles, accounting for nearly half of all the vehicles checked (47%).

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

  • For the 12 month period up to end-June 2018, performance against all three Agency targets was above the target levels.  Vehicle Testing dropped from 97.2% last quarter to 94.5% in the current quarter.  Driver Testing also decreased, from 97.0% to 92.6%, whereas Driver Licensing increased from 95.8% to 97.1%.

Notes to editors: 

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

  1. This is the latest quarterly edition of the Driver & Vehicle Agency ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’ relating to April to June 2018.  The release is written and issued by the DVA Statistics Branch in the Department for Infrastructure.  This is the fifteenth edition of the quarterly publication under its new departmental title having previously been released by the former DoE.
  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-March 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:
  6. Publication copies - Electronic copies of the ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q1’ can be downloaded from:
  7. A companion Infographic is also available on our website at:  

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

All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: Out of hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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