MORE than 420,000 learner drivers will be banned from driving alone from midnight on Monday.How can this happen? Now, if you don't live in Ireland, this might sound fair enough. People who haven't passed their test shouldn't be driving unaccompanied. True. But, ...
Their insurance will be also invalidated if they crash, road safety chiefs warned last night.
If people flout the new law – announced by the Government yesterday – they face fines of €1,000 or jail terms of up to three years on a second offence.
Gardai last night insisted they would implement the drastic new measures which will put an end to provision licence holders, on their second licence, being allowed to drive without being accompanied by a fully qualified driver.
The new learner permit system starts from Tuesday.
That's how it's always been here. People can basically drive as if they've passed their test once they've taken the test once (& failed). Insurance companies will insure you and nobody will ticket you.
This afternoon I heard that it has always been illegal for someone to drive unaccompanied. I presume that's true, but if the law is so obviously unenforced it's essentially it's non-existent. According to the Independent, that's all about to change very suddenly.
The reason I knew this would be trouble is because I know there are thousands of people who drive to work, but who have yet to pass their test. Many of these live in the far distant suburbs of Dublin (or beyond), in towns and villages where public transport is not an option. So, with the flick of a pen, next Tuesday morning, there will be many, many people unable to get to their place of work.
I can't for the life of me understand how this happened. It can only be due to the arrogance and ignorance of those in the government, the Road Safety Authority and the upper echelon of the civil service.