Statistical Press Release – Second Quarter 2016/2017 DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics Released

Date published: 08 December 2016

The DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics Quarter 2 2016-2017 is now available.

DRD statistics publication

The publication is produced by the Analysis, Statistics & Research Branch (ASRB) of the Department for Infrastructure and contains summary statistical and trend information relating to the main functions of the DfI’s Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) and other vehicle licensing activity. 

The publication is available on the ASRB website at: Driver & Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics.   

Key points

The key points for Quarter 2 2016/17 are:

Driver Testing

15,561 Driving Test Applications were submitted to the DVA. This marks an increase of over 5% in applications compared with the same quarter last year. While this is one fifth less than the second quarter series high of 19,815 applications received in 2008, it is still one fifth higher than the figure recorded as recently as July to September 2013 and continues the increasing trend.

Numerically the largest increase has been for Private Car L Tests, which have experienced a rise of over 500 applications over the year to reach 12,814 in latest quarter. Again, it continues a generally increasing trend since the series low of 10,439 recorded during Quarter 3 2013/14 and is likely linked to continuing improvements in the economy.

Over 14,900 Driving Tests were conducted by the DVA, a rise of almost 10% on the same period last year and in line with the increasing trend in driving test applications.

The pass rate for the Private Car L Test was down by just over two percentage points to 54% from the same quarter last year. The current pass rate, however, is still eight percentage points higher than the second quarter series low of 46% recorded during 2008.

Vehicle Testing

The most popular booking method for vehicle test applications was the internet booking system which received 60% of all applications, up by 6 percentage points on the same period last year.

Approximately 258,600 Vehicle Tests were carried out by the DVA. The vast majority of these (84%) were Full Tests with the remainder vehicle retests. Overall, Tests Conducted has decreased by just under 2% compared with the same quarter in 2015 when the number was over 263,200.

The overall pass rate for Full Tests was almost 81%, an increase of half a percentage point compared with the same period last year and a new series high for this quarter.

Theory Testing

A total of 21,733 applications for Theory Tests were received by DVA, an increase of over 4% compared with the same period in 2015. The majority (61%) of the additional applications related to Private Cars. The increase in theory test applications will, in part, be due to the decreasing pass rate, resulting in more candidates booking to retake their test.

Theory Test pass rates for Private Cars showed an almost one percentage point fall to just under 47% when compared with the same quarter in 2015. This contrasts with a pass rate of just below 20% for the taxi theory test which was introduced at the end of October 2014.

Vehicle Registration

During April to June 2016, nearly 18,500 new vehicles were registered for the first time in the north of Ireland. This represents a small increase of less than 2% from the same period last year and may suggest some stagnation in new vehicle sales following a similarly small rise recorded between 2014 and 2015.

The top make for private cars registered for the first time during April to June 2016 was Ford, accounting for over 12% of all such registrations, followed by Volkswagen (9%) and Vauxhall (8%).

Driver Licence Stock

Over three quarters (76%) of the north of Ireland’s entitled population had a full and eligible licence for Private Cars / Light Vans as at the 12 October 2016. For the Male entitled population the proportion was 82% compared to 70% for females.

Road Transport Licensing

At the 30 September 2016, there were 12,864 licensed Taxi Drivers in the north of Ireland, down by over 9% from the same point in 2015. There were also 1,695 licensed Taxi Operators on this date, down by nearly 11% over the year. This fall was driven primarily by a reduction in Small Operators (who can have up to two taxis on their licence) and account for 87% of all operators.

Enforcement Activities

DVA Enforcement teams carried out 14 joint operations with the PSNI exclusively targeted on Cars and HGVs. There were also 17 spot checks on School Buses carried out by enforcement officers. Four of these buses were found to be committing an offence compared to only one from 37 checks carried out in the same quarter last year.

Notes to editors: 


  1. This is the latest quarterly edition of the Driver and Vehicle Agency ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics’ relating to July to September 2016. The report is written and issued by Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch in the Department for Infrastructure. This is the second edition of the quarterly publication under its new departmental title having previously been released by the former DoE.

Data sources

  1. The figures are derived mainly from administrative sources held within the DfI’s Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) and its Transport Regulation Unit.

Vehicle Registration

  1. Although no longer the responsibility of DVA, for completeness and to provide continuity of reporting, detailed figures have been included in this publication relating to NI vehicle first registrations and vehicle licensing. DVA statisticians receive, on a quarterly basis, north of Ireland specific quality assured vehicle registration and licensing extracts from the DVLA/DfT for the purposes of producing Official Statistics. The DVLA/DfT are, and continue to be, responsible for all vehicle licensing and registration enquiries. Due to publication timing differences with the DfT, who release the headline UK figures (and now include NI), the latest available NI vehicle first registration figures are up to end-June 2016.                

Future publication dates

  1. The Driver and Vehicle Agency ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics’ is published every quarter at pre-announced release dates, which are available from the GOV.UK website.

Publication copies

  1. Electronic copies of the ‘DfI Driver, Vehicle, Operator and Enforcement Statistics’ Quarter 2, July to September 2016 is available at: Driver & Vehicle Agency Activity Statistics.


  1. A companion Infographic is also available on our website.

Should this format not be suitable for your needs, hard copies are available free of charge from:

Analysis, Statistics and Research Branch (DVA)
DVA Statistics
Belfast Test Centre
66 Balmoral Road
Malone Lower
Belfast BT12 6QL
  1. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email:
  2. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.


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