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

Date published: 27 April 2022

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

DRD statistics publication

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 three of 2021-22, the DVA conducted just over 247,000 vehicle tests (full tests and retests). This is 52,200 (27%) higher than the previous quarter (194,800), and 15% (32,641) above the previous 5-year quarterly average (214,374). The majority of tests conducted (82.4%) were full tests for private cars (203,603).

Vehicle Licensing

During July to September 2021, the DVLA registered just over 12,210 vehicles for the first time in Northern Ireland, just over 2,900 less than the previous quarter (15,140). Private cars accounted for almost 78% (9,470) of all first time registrations during this quarter. This is also the fourth consecutive quarter that alternative fuel cars out sold diesel cars.

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 vehicles were private cars (1,016,091).

Driver Theory Tests

From October to December 2021, the DVA received just over 24,180 theory test applications. This is the highest for any quarter three in our series going back to 2012/13. During the same period, DVA delivered 21,280 theory tests, again the highest quarter three volume since 2012/13.

Driver Practical Tests

From October to December 2021, the DVA received almost 18,500 applications for a driving test, for the same period, DVA conducted over 16,840 practical driving tests, which is 14% (2,117) above the equivalent number in 2018-19 (14,718).

Driver Licensing

The DVA carried out just over 68,780 ordinary licensing transactions during October to December 2021, the highest number of quarter three transactions since 2008-09.

At the 31 December 2021, there were just over 1,124,800 full and eligible licence holders with private cars/light vans entitlement, an increase of 1.1% compared with the previous quarter (1,112,226). This is the third quarterly increase in a row and reflects the recent upward trend in driving tests conducted.

Road Transport Licensing

The number of licensed taxi drivers has fallen for another quarter by 161 (1.9%) to 8,289 at 31 December 2021, the lowest number in our series from 2013.


During this quarterly period, DVA checked 480 vehicles, with heavy goods vehicles (including trailers), accounting for 165 (34%) of all vehicles checked.

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

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 twenty-nineth edition of the quarterly report ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to October to December 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 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 first registration figures published as normal are up to September 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 Two’ 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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