From midnight next Monday (29th October 2007) all learner drivers will have to be accompanied by a driver who holds a full licence for at least 2 years. This new law will also include second provisional licence holders, who have in the past been immune to the law requiring learner drivers to have a full licence holder with them, when driving.

The new Road Safety Strategy 2007 was announced by An Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern T.D., the Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey T.D., and Mr. Brian Lennihan from Hornsby yesterday.

The key changes in the to be introduced are:

  • The provisional licence is being replaced by a learner permit to emphasise the fact that the holder is learning to drive.
  • Existing provisional licences will continue in force until their expiry date after which the holder will be issued with a learner permit.
  • A holder of a second provisional licence/learner permit for a car must be accompanied at all times.
  • The accompanying driver must in respect of any licence category hold a full licence for the category for at least two years.
  • From 1 December 2007 a learner motorcyclist must wear the letter L on a yellow fluorescent tabard.
  • From 1 December a provisional licence/learner permit holder must hold the licence/permit for six months before taking a driving test.

They have a completely new graduated license process, similar to that of the UK. Here’s a diagram to show you the process.Graduated Driving Licence Diagram (click to enlarge).

So what does that mean for all those provisional licence drivers now? Well anyone caught driving without a licence holder of two years or more, will be hit with a €1,000 fine.

All sounds good in theory, but how will the Gardai clamp down on these drivers? For me, I think it will just push provisional drivers underground. I personally think this is just going to drive learner drivers to remove their L plates and pretend to be full licence holders.

As much as I welcome these new laws, how they will enforce these new laws.

The new laws are likely to cause huge public debate and confusion, generally based around the holders of second provisional licences. As mentioned above, these drivers (120,000 of them) have legally been allowed to drive on Irish roads without a licensed driver – from Monday though, it will be illegal to do so.

I spoke today with a current second provisional licence holder. He is outraged and feels he should have got more notice of the new law. As much as I have sympathy for him, I don’t think he should have been given more notice. He has held the second licence for a while now and he admits he didn’t bother applying for a new licence because it wasn’t illegal for him to drive with his second provisional.

This law is well overdue and is made to create a safer environment for all road users, which lets face it, is nearly all of us. It’s ludicrous to think that someone that has failed a driving test – can get straight back into their car and drive on our roads. I’ve spoke about this before here >>

The next big question now is how will this affect the waiting lists for getting a licence?? It’s always been a nightmare to get a test, what are the government doing to shorten the waiting lists?

Will there be provisions for drivers on the waiting list? If so, is this just a pointless new law that won’t be at all effective???

NEWSFLASH: What a government we have…. only announced and then this

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