Thursday, 8 October 2020

Questions (97)

Paul McAuliffe


97. Deputy Paul McAuliffe asked the Minister for Transport if his attention has been drawn to a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29371/20]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

While it is the case that a learner driver must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver at all times, there is no requirement in law for driving instructors to attend test centres with learners sitting driving tests. Operational arrangements at test centres are a matter for the Road Safety Authority. I have therefore referred that element of the Deputy's question to the Authority for direct response; please contact my office if no reply has been received within ten working days.

In response to the second issue raised by the Deputy, I should clarify that under provisions set out in S.I. No. 203/2009 - Road Traffic (Driving Instructor Licensing) (No. 2) Regulations 2009 the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is legally required to carry out a check test of an Approved Driving Instructor every two years at the very minimum. This test takes the form of an observation by an RSA examiner of a lesson given by the instructor to a learner driver and is considered an essential element in the regulation and continuous professional development of driving instructors.

Driving is a complex and multifaceted skill and instructors shoulder a considerable responsibility in teaching their students to behave safely and responsibly on the roads at all times. It is for this reason that it is imperative that the RSA have a means of ensuring that all instructors maintain the highest of teaching standards in the years after they have completed their initial qualification.

I must stress that it is equally important that we protect lives and health from both the COVID19 pandemic and the impact of collisions on our roads and that we maintain the standards, whether in public health or in driving standards, that save lives and health.

A referred reply was forwarded to the Deputy under Standing Order 51