RSA-Operation Learner Driver – 43% of learner permit holders drive unaccompanied

By , May 9, 2012 9:45 AM

2012 News

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07 May 2012

Operation Learner Driver – 43% of learner permit holders drive unaccompanied http://www.rsa.ie/en/Utility/News/2012/Operation-Learner-Driver—43-of-learner-permit-holders-drive-unaccompanied/

Road Safety is every road user’s responsibility. Tragically 58 people have already lost their lives on our roads so far this year. This is 7 road deaths less than this period last year.

The majority of road users have adopted safer behaviours and played their part in reducing the pain and grief that comes with every fatal or serious injury road collision. With this in mind, we appeal to every road user to once again play their part in continuing with this reduction in road deaths.

Enforcement by An Garda Síochána will continue to focus on high risk behaviour such as speeding, drink or drug driving, non use of seatbelts, reckless driving and use of mobile phones. A particular focus will also be on the Learner Driver. From 2 recent operations targeting Learner Drivers we find that a significant percentage of those are not abiding by the conditions of holding that permit. Of the 2200 drivers checked, 43% (946) were un-accompanied by a full licence holder, and 30% (660) were not displaying L plates. In some cases both offences were committed by the same driver.

Assistant Commissioner John O’ Mahoney said today:

“We appeal to all road users to continue to do all they can in keeping our roads as safe as they can be. Although 7 less people have been killed on our roads, we saw an increase in April 2012 compared to April 2011 (18 versus 8). We must be mindful that any mistake on the road can lead to very serious consequences for all involved. We especially wish to remind all learner permit holders of their legal obligations with regards to displaying L-plates, being accompanied by qualified drivers at all times and motorway restrictions. A recent series of operations highlighted the fact that as high as 43% of learner permit holders were in breach of these conditions. Driving is a skill which must be practised to improve that skill. As a learner you are doing exactly that, learning, to drive. All vehicle owners should also ensure that any learner permit holder driving their vehicle is accompanied by a fully qualified driver and displays L plates at all times. An Garda Síochána will continue to prioritise the enforcement to these road traffic regulations to ensure greater compliance by Learner Drivers. ”

Commenting on ‘Operation Learner Driver’, Mr. Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority while disappointed at the high number of novice drivers detected welcomed the Garda enforcement of these vital road safety laws, “A learner permit is just that, a permit, it is not a driving licence. A Learner Permit allows an individual to learn to drive under certain conditions, until they are ready to take a driving test. These include, that they be accompanied by a driver who has held their full licence for more than two years and that ‘L’ plates are displayed at all times to alert other drivers to the presence of a novice driver. These laws are there to protect this group who are vulnerable road users by the fact that they are inexperienced drivers.”

“There are now over 2,000 Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) nationwide, registered with the RSA, who are able to provide a high standard of tuition to candidates. They are also providing tuition under the new RSA’s mandatory Essential Driver Training Programme, which requires anyone who received their first Learner Permit since the 4th May 2011 to undertake 12 hours of compulsory driving tuition. Waiting times for the driving test have been cut dramatically and are below a ten week national average and in some places this waiting time is lower. If someone needs an urgent driving test, for example to secure a job, we can prioritise that candidate for a test. Waiting times for a driving test or access to quality tuition are no longer excuses for driving long term or breaching the terms of the Learner Permit.”

“There is also an issue of parental responsibility involved here and I would appeal directly to the parents of young learner drivers to stop turning a blind eye to what’s going on and do not allow their son or daughter access to a vehicle, unless they are accompanied and have ‘L’ plates displayed.”

“It is also worth pointing out that a learner permit holder who is not adhering to the requirements for that licence and who is involved in a collision will be covered for third party liability but their insurance provider may not cover any other costs and may seek to recover costs for the non compliant driver,” concluded Mr. Brett.

A list of over 2,000 Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) nationwide can be found on the RSA’s website.

Commenting on results of the Garda enforcement Mr. Garry Redmond, President, Union of Students in Ireland, said “I am concerned by the number of Learner Drivers who are driving unaccompanied. Such drivers pose a real risk not only to other drivers and vulnerable road users but also to themselves. As a learner driver you simply have not proven that you are a safe and competent driver, no matter how many lessons you have taken. So it’s vital that you drive accompanied by a fully qualified driver whenever using the road.”

Mr. Redmond added that, “the USI is fully supportive of such campaigns by An Garda Síochána to eliminate this irresponsible driving practice and would remind drivers of the consequences of driving unaccompanied. Furthermore we will continue to work with both the Gardai and the RSA to promote road safety on campuses across the country.”

ENDS

For media queries, please contact:

Garda Press Office:             01 666 2030

Notes to Editors:

1. Operation Learner Driver March 1st-2nd 2012
Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

 

Dublin region

197

85

93
Eastern region

226

125

97

 

Northern region

137

76

46

 

South Eastern region

258

94

55

 

Southern region

204

98

66

 

Western region

161

56

37

 

Total

1,183

534

394
2. Operation Learner Driver 19th April 2012
Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

 

Dublin region

96

63

52

 

Eastern region

255

114

78

 

Northern region

137

61

51

 

South Eastern region

170

53

24

 

Southern region

274

92

47

 

Western region

85

29

14

 

Total

1,017

412

266
3. Number of car drivers on a learner permit in Ireland as of 31st March 2012
Learner permit Count

Number of car drivers

 

1st

114,632

 

2nd

67,022

 

3rd

19,557

 

4th

12,380

 

5th

6,470

 

6th

4,495

 

7th

3,717

 

8th

3,007

 

9th

2,498

 

10th

1,359

 

11th or more

848

 

Total

235,984
4. Provisional figures from An Garda Síochána – Operation Learner Driver March 1st -2nd 2012
Region

NO of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

Caution

Proceeding Commenced

 

Dublin region

197

85

93

111

37

 

Eastern region

226

125

97

147

35

 

Northern region

137

76

46

67

9

 

South Eastern region

258

94

55

69

49

 

Southern region

204

98

66

68

42

 

Western region

161

56

37

59

4

 

Total

1,183

534

394

521

176
5. Provisional figures from An Garda Síochána – Operation Learner Driver 19th April 2012
Region

No of L drivers

Unaccompanied

No L Plates

Caution

Proceeding Commenced

 

Dublin region

96

63

52

64

32

 

Eastern region

255

114

78

112

31

 

Northern region

137

61

51

84

1

 

South Eastern region

170

53

24

61

18

 

Southern region

274

92

47

80

14

 

Western region

85

29

14

27

7

 

Total

1,017

412

266

428

103

 

Overall Total from both operations

2,200

940

660

949

279
6. General penalty
S.10219 — Where a person is guilty of an offence under any section or subsection of a section of the Road Traffic Acts, 1961 to 2006 and, apart from this section and disregarding any disqualification that may be capable of being imposed, no penalty is provided for the offence, such person shall be liable on summary conviction—
(a) in the case of a first offence under that section or subsection – to a fine not exceeding €1000,
(b) in the case of a second offence under that section or subsection, or of a third or subsequent such offence other than an offence referred to in the next paragraph – to a fine not exceeding €2,000, and
(c) in the case of a third or subsequent offence under that section or subsection which is the third or subsequent such offence in any period of twelve consecutive months – to a fine not exceeding €2,000 or, at the discretion of the Court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding three months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

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