Publication of ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2021-22 Quarter Four’

Date published: 25 May 2022

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2021-22 Quarter Four’ report, detailing statistics for January to March 2022 and financial year 2021-22, is now available.

Statistical press release

The report is produced and published by NISRA Statisticians working within the DVA. It contains summary statistical, performance, and trend information relating to the main business functions of the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA), and other vehicle licensing activity.  The publication is available on the DfI website at:

Key Points

The key points in the report are:

  • For the 2021-22 financial year, the DVA conducted just over 894,120 vehicle tests, 89.5% of the number conducted in 2019-20 (999,320).
  • During quarter four of 2021-22 (January to March), the DVA conducted just over 277,370 vehicle tests (full tests and retests). This is 30,350 (12%) higher than the previous quarter (247,015), and 21% (47,210) above the previous 5-year quarterly average (230,160). As usual, the majority of tests conducted (82%) were full tests for private cars (227,110).
  • At the end of September 2021 there were just over 1,249,000 licensed vehicles in Northern Ireland, a small increase from the previous quarter (1,248,600), and continuing the increasing trend from quarter two of 2020-21. The overwhelming majority (81.3%) of licensed vehicle were private cars (1,016,091).
  • In 2021-22, the DVA conducted just over 89,520 theory tests, the highest on record.  Prior to the pandemic, volumes ranged from 69,950 in 2015-16 to 72,250 in 2018-19.
  • The DVA conducted just over 65,190 driving tests during 2021-22, the highest on record since 2010-11.
  • The DVA carried out 277,510 ordinary licensing transactions during 2021-22, which was 15% above that in 2019-20 (241,315).
  • At the 31 March 2022, there were just over 1,131,290 full and eligible licence holders with private-cars/light vans entitlement, an increase of 0.6% compared with the previous quarterly total (1,124,800). This is another quarterly increase and reflects the continuing upward trend in driving tests conducted.
  • The number of taxi drivers at the end of March 2022 (8,152) has fallen by 7% (629) relative to the same period in 2021 (8,781).
  • Total vehicle checks in 2021-22, at 2,714 were 54% of the equivalent volume in 2019-20 (5,060).
  • For driver licensing this financial year 2021-22, online application performance was 98.1% processed within working five days (against a target of 95%), whilst paper application performance was 78.3% processed within ten working days (against a target of 90%).

Notes to editors: 

  1. This is the thirtieth edition of the quarterly report ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to January to March 2022, and financial year 2021-22.
  2. The release covers nine main DVA business areas: vehicle testing, theory testing, driver testing, driver licensing, road transport and taxi licensing, enforcement and advance driving instructors.  Also included in the quarterly report are financial year-end 2021-22 monitoring results for two key DVA driver licensing performance targets.
  3. Vehicle licensing statistics are included in the report; however, they are no longer a DVA business area: responsibility for vehicle licensing transferred to DVLA in July 2014 and DfT now publish these statistics on a UK-wide basis.  Due to publication timing differences with the DfT, who release the headline UK figures, the latest NI vehicle registration figures are up to September 2021 only.
  4. We derive the majority of statistics from administrative data sources held within the DVA and the DfI’s Transport Regulation Unit. 
  5. The report is written, and issued by NISRA statisticians in the DVA. 
  6. ‘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. Electronic copies of the ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2021-22 Quarter Four’ can be downloaded from our website at:
  1. A detailed User Guidance document is also available on our website.
  2. This is a National Statistics report and therefore follows the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.  You can find further information about the Code on the Statistics Authority’s website.
  3. For further information, please contact:
DVA Statistics Branch,
Driver and Vehicle Agency,
Annex 4, Belfast Test Centre
66 Balmoral Road,
BT12 6QL
  1. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  2. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure.

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