Written Answers. - Driving Tests.

Michael Bell

Ceist:

39 Mr. Bell asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the plans, if any, he has for a graduated system of driving licences for new drivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10018/00]

Denis Naughten

Ceist:

40 Mr. Naughten asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the plans, if any, he has to reform the driving test and introduce compulsory driver training; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10012/00]

Jan O'Sullivan

Ceist:

44 Ms O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his views on proposals from the EU Commission for common standards for driving tests within the EU and, particularly, the suggestion of ongoing assessment of drivers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10019/00]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 39, 40 and 44 together.

The Government Strategy for Road Safety 1998-2002 prioritises action on speeding, alcohol and seat belt wearing as holding the greatest and most immediate potential for realising road safety gains. Promotional and enforcement activity in support of these priorities is particularly directed at known high risk categories of road users, including younger drivers. As indicated in the strategy, my Department has provided financial assistance to the DIR, which has enabled it to attain ISO 9002 certification. Further measures to ensure quality control of driving instruction, have recently been announced as indicated in reply to Parliamentary Question No. 15 on today's Order Paper. All of these measures should enhance confidence in, and use of quality driving instruction.

The strategy does not at this stage prioritise compulsory driving instruction nor the design of specific measures to prolong the training of inexperienced drivers. Such measures are not in wide operation internationally, nor are their benefits well agreed. However regard will be had to emerging international developments in this area, including proposals from the European Commission if such are brought forward, in the context of reviewing the strategy.

Common standards for driving tests are already required under the provisions of Directive 91/439/EEC. The standard of driving test provided for in Ireland is as laid down in that directive.