Publication of DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q2

Date published: 06 December 2018

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics 2018-19 Q2’ report, containing statistics for July to September 2018, is now available.

Publication of Travel Survey for Northern Ireland 2012-2014 headline report

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:


Vehicle Testing

  • Almost 285,000 vehicle tests were carried out by the DVA, an increase of over 4% compared to the equivalent quarter last year. The vast majority of these (85%) were full tests, whilst the overall pass rate for these was 81%.

Vehicle Licensing

  • At over 17,000, number of new vehicle first registrations in the period April to June 2018 showed an increase of 2.3% from the equivalent period in 2017.  New car first registrations accounted for the majority of this rise, up by a greater 2.8%.
  • There were almost 1,179,000 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland at 30 June 2018, an increase of 1.8% on last year.  The vast majority (83%) were cars.

Driver Theory Tests

  • The number of theory tests conducted during the quarter decreased by 3.7% to just under 18,000. Five out of the last six quarter-on-quarter comparisons have now shown decreases.  The pass rate for private car theory tests was 46%, a small increase on last quarter.

Driving Practical Tests

  • Almost 15,000 driving test applications were submitted during July to September 2018, an increase of 0.2% on the equivalent quarter in 2017.  However during the same three-month period, the number of driving tests conducted decreased by 0.4% to approximately 14,400.  The pass rate for these tests was 59%, up slightly on the 58% last quarter but broadly unchanged over the past five years.

Driver Licensing

  • Almost 66,000 ordinary licensing transactions were carried out by DVA during July to September 2018.  This represented a decrease of approximately 23% in comparison with the volume carried out in the corresponding quarter of 2017.
  • At the 30th September 2018 there were over 1,098,000 full and eligible licence holders with private cars / light vans entitlement.  This was a rise of 1.1% compared with the total twelve months ago.

Road Transport Licensing

  • At 30 September 2018 there were approximately 10,700 licensed taxi drivers, down by 10% 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 July to September 2018 DVA Enforcement staff checked nearly 1,200 vehicles; of these, the largest volume was for heavy goods vehicles, accounting for nearly half of all the vehicles checked (46%).

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

  • For the 12 month period up to end-September 2018, Agency performance against two of the three targets was below the target level.  Vehicle Testing dropped for the third quarter in a row, from 94.5% to 86.9%.  Driver testing also decreased for the third consecutive quarter, from 92.6% to 87.3%.  Driver Licensing was the only measure above target, rising for the fourth quarter in a row, from 97.1% to 98.1%.

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the sixteenth edition of the quarterly publication ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to July to September 2018.  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-June 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 Q2’ can be downloaded from:
  7. A companion Infographic is also available on our website at:  
  8. 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:
  9. 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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