Written Answers. - Driving Licences.

Seán Ryan

Question:

28 Mr. S. Ryan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the total number of provisional driving licences on issue from his Department; the steps, if any, he is taking to reduce the number of provisional drivers on our roads; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10036/00]

An estimated 380,000 provisional licences were current at the end of 1999.

The Government Strategy for Road Safety 1998-2000 acknowledged the importance of driver training and testing to road safety, with the qualification that these could not be expected to yield road safety benefits on the scale of the measures directly targeted at speeding, alcohol and seat belt wearing which have been prioritised by the strategy. The strategy proposed, for the longer term, a significant reduction in the number of Irish drivers relying on a provisional licence.

Measures have been in place for some years and will be maintained, to restrict the long-term holding of provisional licences. In addition, the Motor Insurance Advisory Board is in the process of finalising recommendations for improving access to motor insurance for young people. The possibility of affording greater credit for the holding of a full driving licence may arise in this context.