My Department has introduced many changes to road traffic legislation over the years to increase safety on our roads, some of which have met with opposition. It has been illegal for a learner driver to drive unaccompanied at any time since 2007 and I recently introduced stricter penalties including giving the Garda Síochána the power to detain vehicles driven by unaccompanied learner drivers.
I am aware that there are a large number of people driving on our roads on their 4th, 5th, 6th or subsequent learner permit. A learner permit is not a licence, but a permit to allow a person to drive while learning. It is perfectly legal for a learner permit holder to drive on our roads as long as they are accompanied by a qualified person.
However, I agree there is a need to eliminate the backlog of long-term learners on our roads and the Road Safety Authority has recently sent proposals to my Department in relation to this issue which are currently being examined by my officials.