Publication of ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2019-20 Q1

Date published: 14 August 2019


The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2019-20 Q1’ report, containing statistics for April to June 2019, is now available.

DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2019-20 Q1
DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2019-20 Q1 report

The publication is produced by the DVA Statistics Branch of the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) 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 received over 339,000 applications for vehicle tests during April to June 2019, up by 12.7% on last year.  During this same period, the DVA conducted almost 294,000 vehicle tests, an increase of 4.3% compared to last year.  For both, these are the highest figures on record. 

The pass-rate for full tests was 83.2%, an increase on the 82.3% in the same period last year, and the second highest quarterly pass-rate in our time series.

Vehicle Licensing

Approximately 20,600 new vehicles were registered in Northern Ireland during January to March 2019.  This is 3.1% less than the figure recorded for the same period in 2018.  The most popular make was Ford (11%), whilst white was the most popular colour (21%) and petrol was the most popular fuel-type (61%).

There were just over 1,190,000 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland at the 31 March 2019, an increase of 2.0% on last year.  The overwhelming majority (83%) were cars.

Driver Theory Tests

The number of theory tests conducted during the quarter was broadly unchanged from 2018, and remains approximately 18,500.  The trend has remained steady over the past four years. 

The pass-rate for private-car theory tests was 43.7%, a small decrease on the previous quarter, and is the lowest quarterly pass-rate recorded in our series.

Driving Practical Tests

The DVA conducted approximately 14,500 driving tests during April to June 2019, a decrease of 1.9% from the number conducted in the equivalent period last year. 

The pass-rate for these tests was 58.7%, broadly unchanged over the past five years.

Driver Licensing

Nearly 58,500 licensing transactions were carried out by DVA during quarter one of 2019-20.  This represents a decrease of approximately 9.1% in comparison with the volume carried out in the corresponding period in 2018.  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 30 June 2019, there were almost 1,109,000 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 30 June 2019, there were approximately 10,100 licensed taxi drivers, down by 9.5% when compared with the same point of 2018, and the lowest figure in our series.  Similarly, there were nearly 8,800 licensed taxi vehicles, a small increase of 0.6% when compared to the record low in the preceding quarter.


During quarter one of 2019-20, DVA Enforcement staff checked approximately 1,100 vehicles, of which 30% were HGVs.  This is the lowest quarterly figure in our time series.

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

For the 12-month period up to the end of June 2019, Agency performance against both the vehicle testing and driving testing performance measures was below the target level of 92%.  Vehicle testing dropped for the sixth quarter in a row, from 82.2% to 74.1%.  Driver testing also decreased for the sixth consecutive quarter, from 85.0% to 84.3%. 

For 2019-20, the DVA has split its driver licensing target into two categories: online applications and paper applications.  For the April to June 2019 period, online performance was 97.3% processed within 5 days, whilst paper performance was 33.6% processed within 10 days, both against a target of 95%.

Notes to editors: 

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

  1. This is the nineteenth edition of the quarterly publication ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to April to June 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-March 2019.
  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 2019-20 Q1’ can be downloaded from:
  7. Both a companion Infographic, and a detailed User Guidance document, are 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,
Belfast, BT12 6QL. 
  1. 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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