Publication of ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2023/24 Quarter Two’

Date published: 15 December 2023

The ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2023/24 Quarter Two’ report, detailing statistics for July to September 2023, 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 licensing activity.

The publication is available on the DfI website at:

Key Points

The key points in the report are:

During quarter two of 2023/24, DVA delivered 274,143 vehicle tests (full and retest), the second highest quarter two volume on record.

From April to September, DVA delivered 562,242 vehicle tests relative to 555,680 for the same period in 2022/23, 1.2% (6,562) more tests so far this year.

Over 11,800 vehicles failed to attend a booked vehicle test in quarter two. This equates to 4.3% of all conducted tests during this period.

Over 22,800 theory tests were conducted in quarter two of 2023/24, over 46,180 tests this financial year to date which is 2.1% (961) higher than for the same period in 2022/23 (45,228).

During this quarter, 3,038 customers failed to attend (FTA) a booked theory test, which equates to 13.3% of all theory tests conducted during this period.

The DVA conducted 15,371 driving tests this quarter, and 31,718 tests year to date 2023/24, relative to over 35,000 for the same period in 2022/23.

There were 552 candidates that failed to attend a booked driving tests this quarter, equivalent to 3.6% of all driving tests conducted in this period.

At the end of June 2023, there were 1.27 million licensed vehicles in Northern Ireland, the highest on record.

Performance for driver licensing paper applications in quarter two was 5.4 percentage points above the 90% target level, at 95.4%.

Driver licensing online applications performance was also above the target level this quarter, at 97.7% against a target of 95%.

At the end of September 2023, there were 1,159,493 full and eligible driver licence holders (excluding provisional licence holders) with private car/light van entitlement in Northern Ireland, the highest on record.

In quarter two of 2023/24, the DVA issued 2,445 transport licences related to taxi vehicles (1,888), taxi drivers (456) and taxi operators (101).

DVA were active across the full range of enforcement activities, having checked 721 vehicles and issued 159 penalty notices totalling £22,090 in fines. DVA undertook 12 joint operations with PSNI, 5 cross-border operations with An Garda Síochána, and 9 spot checks on school buses.

During 2022/23 DVA carried out a Random Heavy Goods Vehicle Compliance Survey.  This survey included 700 vehicles and 51 road-side operations covering the period from June 2022 to February 2023.

Of the 700 vehicles inspected, 177 (25.3%) were deemed to be non-compliant, with 1 in every 4 having a vehicle defect or committing a road traffic offence, worthy of prosecution, prohibition, or a fixed penalty notice. This increases to 27.6% when verbal warnings issued are included.

The overall non-compliance rate of 25.3% was found to be higher than the 21.7% in 2016/17 the last time this survey was conducted, though this comparison is not on a like-for-like basis due to changes in compliance testing and better technology now to detect non-compliance than was available for previous surveys.

The 2022/23 survey found that 6.1% of vehicles and 5.4% of trailers had at least one roadworthiness defect resulting in a prohibition, prosecution or fixed penalty notice relative to 11.4% and 7.2% respectively in 2016/17.

Non-compliance due to traffic related offences increased from 11.9% to 22.3% between surveys. On an actual count of individual recorded road traffic offences, Drivers Hours & Recording equipment accounted for most recorded road traffic offences which affirms the view that digital/smart tachographs and the use of modern technology at the roadside is responsible for detecting more drivers’ hours offences than during previous surveys and why non-compliance of 22.3% is much higher relative to previous surveys.

Notes to editors: 

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

  1. This is the 36th edition of the quarterly report ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics’, relating to July to September 2023.  
  2. The release covers the main DVA business areas: vehicle testing, theory testing, driver testing, driver licensing, road transport and taxi licensing, enforcement and goods operator licensing from within the DfI. Also included in the quarterly report are monitoring results for the second quarter of 2023/24 for two key DVA driver licensing performance targets.
  3. Vehicle licensing statistics for 2023/24 quarter one April to June 2023 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. Vehicle statistics for July to September 2023 will be published in the quarter three release of this report due for release in March 2024.
  4. We derive the majority of statistics from administrative data sources held within the DVA, the DfI’s Transport Regulation Unit, and the Department for Transport. 
  5. Please note that the HGV Random Survey 2022/23 results included in the quarter two report are not designated National Statistics, but Official Statistics and are published with this report for convenience. DVA are not planning to conduct these types of survey on a quarterly basis going forward.
  6. The report is written and issued by NISRA statisticians posted to the DVA. 
  7. ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics’ is published every quarter at pre-announced release dates, which are available from the GOV.UK website.
  8. Electronic copies of the ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator, and Enforcement Statistics 2023-24 Quarter Two’ can be downloaded from our website at: Driver Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics
  9. A detailed User Guidance document is also available on our website.
  10. 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.
  11. For further information, please contact:DVA Statistics Branch,Driver and Vehicle Agency,Annex 4, Belfast Test Centre,66 Balmoral Road,Belfast,BT12 6QL
    Tel (public enquiries):  02890 547911 (Text relay prefix 18001)
  12. 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.
  13. Follow the Department on X/(Twitter) @deptinfra, on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure and on LinkedIn at Department for Infrastructure.

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