Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1291)

Imelda Munster

Question:

1291. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to introduce changes to the law or regulations regarding driver licences; if he will address the matter of more than 120,000 learner permit holders who obtained their first licence between 1984 and 2016 and have never taken a driver test (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19059/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

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.