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

Date published: 05 April 2022

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2021-22 Quarter Two’ report, detailing statistics for July to September 2021, 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:

Vehicle Testing

During quarter two of 2021-22, the DVA conducted just over 194,800 vehicle tests (full tests and retests). This is 19,700 (11%) higher than the previous quarter (175,100), and 88.0% of the previous 5-year quarterly average (221,445). The majority of tests conducted (81.3%) were full tests for private cars (158,458).

Vehicle Licensing

During April to June 2021, the DVLA registered just over 15,100 new vehicles for the first time in Northern Ireland, 2,000 more than the previous quarter (13,100). Private car first registrations accounted for almost 75% (11,300) of all new vehicle registrations during this quarter. This is the third consecutive quarter that alternative fuel cars have out sold diesel cars.

At the end of June 2021, there were just over 1,248,600 licensed vehicles in Northern Ireland, an increase of 2.3% (28,600) compared with the previous quarter (1,220,000), and continuing the increasing trend from quarter two of 2020-21. The overwhelming majority (81.4%) of licensed vehicles were private cars (1,017,400).

Driver Theory Tests

From July to September 2021, the DVA received just over 28,000 theory test applications, the highest for a single quarter going back to 2012. During the same period, DVA delivered just over 22,300 theory tests, the second highest for a single quarter since 2009.

Driver Practical Tests

From July to September 2021, the DVA received just over 19,300 applications for a driving test; for the same period, DVA conducted over 17,600 practical driving tests, which is 22% (3,200) above the equivalent number in 2018-19 (14,400).

Driver Licensing

The DVA carried out just over 73,550 ordinary licensing transactions during July to September 2021, the highest number of ordinary driver licensing transactions since 2017-18, and almost 9% (5,900) higher compared to the same quarter in 2018-19 (67,600).

At 30 September 2021, there were just over 1,112,200 full and eligible licence holders with private cars/light vans entitlement, an increase of 1.1% (12,500) compared with the previous quarterly total (1,099,700).  This is the second quarterly increase in a row and reflects the recent upward trend in driving tests conducted.

Road Transport Licensing

The number of licensed taxi drivers fell for another quarter by 105 (1.2%), to 8,450 as at the end of September 2021, the lowest number of taxi drivers recorded since our series began in 2013.


During this quarter, DVA checked 605 vehicles; of these, the largest volume was for heavy goods vehicles (including trailers), accounting for over three in five of all vehicles checked. Enforcement checks in this quarter were lower than last quarter but almost double that for the same period in 2020 (310).

DVA Target Performance Monitoring

In response to the pandemic, the DVA has continued to review its performance targets.  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-eighth edition of the quarterly report ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to July to September 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 end-June 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:
  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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