Publication of DfI 'Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2021-22 Quarter One’

Date published: 02 September 2021

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2021-22 Quarter One’ report, detailing statistics for April to June 2021, is now available.

DVA Stats Infographic 2021-22 Quarter 1

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:

Vehicle Testing

During quarter one of 2021-22, the DVA conducted just over 175,100 vehicle tests (full tests and retests). This is 18,300 (12%) higher than the previous quarter (157,000), and 77.3% of the previous 5-year quarterly average. The majority of tests conducted (64.3%) were full tests for private-cars (112,600).

Vehicle Licensing

During January to March 2020, the DVLA registered just under 13,000 new vehicles for the first time in Northern Ireland.  This is just over 9% less compared with the same period in 2019 (14,500), and is the lowest quarter four total since 2009. This is the second quarter in a row that alternative-fuel cars have out-sold diesel cars.

There were just below 1,228,000 vehicles licensed in Northern Ireland at 31 March 2021, a slight increase (0.7%) compared with the previous quarter (1,220,000), and continuing the increasing trend from quarter 2 of 2020-21. The overwhelming majority (82%) of licensed vehicle were private cars.

Driver Theory Tests

From April to June 2021, the DVA received just under 26,600 theory test applications. This is over six times the previous quarter (4,300) and the highest for a single quarter in our series. During the same period, DVA delivered just over 23,000 theory tests, again the highest for a single quarter since 2009.

Driver Practical Tests

From April to June 2021, the DVA received just over 23,100 applications for a driving test, the highest recorded for a single quarter since our series started in 2008. For the same period, DVA conducted over 13,300 driving tests, just over 91% of the equivalent number in 2019-20 (14,500).

Driver Licensing

The DVA carried out just over 69,000 ordinary licensing transactions during April to June 2021. This is the highest number of ordinary driver licensing transactions since 2018, and is more than double the volume of transactions compared to the same quarter in 2020-21.

At the 30 June 2021, there were just over 1,099,700 full and eligible licence holders with private-cars / light vans entitlement, an increase of 1.5% from the previous quarter. This is the first increase for several quarters, and reflects the recent upward trend in driving tests conducted.

Road Transport Licensing

At the end of June 2021, there were just over 8,550 licensed taxi drivers, a fall of 2.6% on the previous quarter. The downward trend in licensed taxi vehicles continues, and stands at just below 8,100 vehicles.


During this quarter, DVA checked 858 vehicles; of these, the largest volume was for heavy goods vehicles, accounting for over three in five of all vehicles checked. Enforcement checks this quarter are 25% higher than the last quarter and seem to be trending back to levels recorded prior to COVID-19.

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

In response to the pandemic, the DVA has continued to review its performance targets.  For driver licensing this quarter, online application performance was 98.5% processed within five days (against a target of 95%), whilst paper application performance was 91.0% processed within ten days (against a target of 90%).

Notes to editors: 

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

  1. This is the twenty-seventh edition of the quarterly report ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to April to June 2021.
  2. The release covers six main DVA business areas: vehicle testing, theory testing, driver testing, driver licensing, road transport and taxi licensing, and enforcement.  Also included in the quarterly report are monitoring results for two key DVA 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 available NI vehicle first registration figures are up to end-March 2021.
  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 One’ can be downloaded from our website at: Driver & Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics
  8. A detailed User Guidance document is also available on our website.
  9. Official Statistics - 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.
  10. 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:
  2. 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.


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