Publication of 'DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2020-21

Date published: 02 September 2020

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2020-21 Quarter One’ report, containing statistics for April to June 2020, is now available

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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: Driver Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics.

Key points

The key points in the report are:

Vehicle Testing

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the DVA suspended all vehicle testing from 24 March 2020, meaning no tests were conducted during April and May.  The DVA resumed IVA testing on 1 June, accounting for 49 tests conducted during June.  The testing of priority vehicle groups commenced on 20 July, along with further additional categories from 1 September.

Vehicle Licensing

DVLA registered just over 14,500 new vehicles in Northern Ireland during January to March 2020.  This is 28.2% lower than the figure recorded for the same period in 2019 and the lowest quarter-four total for more than a decade.  The most popular new private-car was Volkswagen (13%); with grey the most popular colour (21%) and petrol the most popular fuel-type (59%).

There were 1,201,000 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland at 31 March 2020, a decrease of 0.6% on last year.  The overwhelming majority (83%) were cars.

Driver Theory Tests

Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the DVA suspended all theory testing from 20 March, and only resumed on 6 July.  During quarter one, only a handful of ‘key-worker’ tests were conducted.

Driving Practical Tests

Similarly, all driver testing was suspended from 20 March, and so no practical driving tests were conducted during the quarter.  Motorcycle testing resumed on 6 July, whilst tests for drivers of buses, tractors and module 4 CPC tests for lorry, bus and coach drivers commenced on 20 July.

Driver Licensing

On 27 March, the DVA suspended the processing of all paper renewal applications, and directed their limited resources towards the provision of essential and ‘key-worker’ services.  As such, during quarter one 2020-21, the DVA carried out approximately 31,400 licensing transactions, a decrease of 46.1% compared to 2019-20.

At the 30 June 2020, there were almost 1,110,000 full and eligible licence holders with private-cars / light vans entitlement.  This was a decrease of 0.9% compared with the previous quarterly total.

Road Transport Licensing

At the 30 June 2020, there were approximately 9,400 licensed taxi drivers, down by 6.9% when compared with the same point of 2019, and the lowest figure in our series.  Conversely, there were over 8,700 licensed taxi vehicles, an increase of 1.7% when compared to June 2019, and more than 7% lower than June 2015.


Due to various measures introduced due to Covid-19, DVA Enforcement activities were extremely constrained during the quarter.  Accordingly, only 49 vehicles were spot-checked.

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

As only limited testing took place between April and June 2020, there are no updates to either the vehicle or driver testing performance metrics.  For driver licensing, for the twelve-months to June 2020, online application performance was 98.2% processed within five days, whilst paper application performance was 84.3% processed within ten days, both against a target of 95%.

Notes to editors: 

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

  1. This is the twenty-third edition of the quarterly publication ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to April to June 2020.  The release is written, and issued by, the DVA Statistics Branch in the Department for Infrastructure.  
  2. The majority of the statistics included in this report cover the Covid-19 lockdown period, and so are limited in comparison to previous editions.
  3. Quarterly comparisons are included within the release, where appropriate, 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.
  4. We derive the majority of figures from administrative data sources held within the DVA and the DfI’s Transport Regulation Unit. 
  5. 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 2020.
  6. Future publication dates - The Driver and 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.
  7. Publication copies - Electronic copies of the ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2020-21 Q1’ can be downloaded from: Driver Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics.
  8. A detailed User Guidance document is also available on our website at: Driver Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics   
  9. 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: Code of Practice for Official Statistics
  10. Further Information - For further information, please contact:
DVA Statistics Branch,
Driver and Vehicle Agency,
Annex 4, Belfast Test Centre
66 Balmoral Road,
BT12 6QL


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

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