About effing time!

The Road Safety Authority announced that new rules will come into force for learner drivers from midnight on Monday 29th October. These new rules include:

  • 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.

Typically, the airwaves and blogs are filled with people on their 2nd, 3rd & 4th provisional licences complaining about how unfair this is for them. They won’t be able to drive to work, no one in their family holds a full licence, why wasn’t there more warning, etc, etc…

Pure and utter bullshit!

If you are on your 2nd provisional licence, then you held your 1st provisional for 2 years before that. Even with waiting periods of 33 weeks (that was Sept 2006, they are now down to an average of 23 weeks – source), you would have had 3 chances to sit their driving test (remember that people could have applied the day they got their provisional up until this announcement):

2 years = 104 weeks / 33 = 3.1

Also according to the RSA, 20% of test slots are being lost due to cancellations or people not turning up!

If you haven’t had the common sense to apply for your test, do lessons and pass it within 2 years, then I really don’t want you to be on the same roads as me! And if you’ve failed your test multiple times, then seriously, how do you think you are possibly qualified to be out driving on the roads unaccompanied?

If you rely on your car to get to / do your job, then get your employer to write a letter stating that driving is a requirement of your job. Send this to your local testing authority and you should get a test date within 2 weeks. I know of several friends that have done this. Sit a driving lesson every evening for those 2 weeks with a GOOD driving instructor and then you should pass – simple as that.

UPDATE: Not that any of this matters, because Noel Dempsey (Minister for Transport) said today:

The Minister believes that sensible Garda enforcement of that type will mean that for an initial period of a few months, Garda efforts in the main will be aimed at cautioning and advising unaccompanied drivers of the new legal requirements.


24 Comments on “My thoughts on the new learner driver rules…”

  1. Don Speekingleesh says:

    I’m on my third provisional, but only started learing to drive this year – I simply used the licence as a form of ID. And I know there are many people who did the same. The waiting time in the likes of Raheny is over 43 weeks – my brother applied there in April and he’s still waiting.

  2. Grannymar says:

    I know you did it all in seven weeks, but you had me to take you for practice EVERY day. Not everyone is so lucky.

  3. ellybabes says:

    Don – didn’t you also apply and get a test date this year and chose not to use it? People who are doing that are using up valuable slots in the system that could be better used by people in true need of them.

    Mum – that’s totally true, but we did that because me passing my test meant that the insurance costs would go down for the family car and give the family an additional degree of flexibility. Had the waiting lists been 33 weeks, we wouldn’t have been out every night, we would have spread it out over longer. And be honest, would you have ever let me drive by myself before passing my test? People here on their 2nd provisional drive themselves unaccompanied to their tests, fail them and drive away by themselves – how is that safe for other drivers?

  4. Grannymar says:

    Neither of us mentioned that you were having professional lessons for those weeks.

    The instructor said you were ready after 7 weeks so we were very fortunate.

  5. ellybabes says:

    Don – do you have to apply where you live? Could your brother not use the address of someone else in your family to apply to another test centre?

  6. Don Speekingleesh says:

    Yeah, I cancelled it in time so it could go to someone on the cancellations list – it would have been a waste of a test had I turned up, as I’d only just started learning to drive.

  7. ellybabes says:

    Mum – I had 10 hours of lessons from an instructor, the least taken in my whole year at school (equal least anyway, there were a few of us that only took 10 hours). I practiced with you and passed the test 2 months and 5 days after applying. I also practiced with you at every opportunity. I passed the test with only one minor fault, no-one else in my year managed that little!

    I did all this because I was DETERMINED to do so. This was just another exam like every other one I took in my life and I knew that I was able to pass it, so I did. Weren’t you always the one who told me “you can do anything you put your mind to”? All these people complaining on the radio and blogs etc today just need to shut up and get on with it, complaining won’t miraculously get them their driving licence.

    And talking of that, how many people in your family got their licences without sitting their tests in one of the general amnesty’s? At least 2 or 3 people in George’s family got theirs that way… Maybe that’s what all the complainers are hoping for!

  8. Don Speekingleesh says:

    He wanted to apply in an area he knew, and not be doing the test in a area he was not familiar with.

  9. ellybabes says:

    Don – at least you’re one of the decent ones, apparently a lot of people just aren’t turning up on the day…

  10. Grannymar says:

    Don – you book your test and then GO Practice in that area until you can do it in your sleep. That’s what Elly had to do.

    Elly – I was praising you when I mentioned the above. It was not all down to me. You have strong Varty blood in your veins. All those women were very strong minded.

  11. Ken McGuire says:

    As I’d suggested on Jaiku, people need to get over it. Two years is more than enough of a window to apply for and gain your full license. I’m gone 14 months into the 24 and don’t plan on going past the end of the year without at least having a date set for the driving test.

  12. Evert Bopp says:

    Provisional/learning permits are ridiculous to begin with.
    If you have not passed a driving test you should not be driving yet. If you have failed a test you certainly should not be driving.

  13. Aidan Finn says:

    I agree, people who’ve been driving for years on provisionals should quit their whining.

    It’s actually quite easy to get your test in Ireland. I got mine within 2 weeks, twice. Just get a fake letter from some company saying they want to interview you for a job but require a full licence.

  14. ellybabes says:

    It’s good to know that some people out there agree with me!

  15. Damien Mulley » Blog Archive » Exclusive: Politics.ie now home to even more “young adult” whingebags says:

    […] and idiocy of the arguments from people obviously too lazy to learn to pass the driving test but Elly has summed it up succintly for me. Get off the fucking roads if you don’t like the rules, little ones. Less people will […]

  16. It’s all about the L drivers at Holy Shmoly! says:

    […] shares her forthright thoughts on the new […]

  17. Cronan says:

    Don- if you are on your third provisional license – this doesn’t affect you since you can’t drive unaccompanied anyway ;-)

  18. Don Speekingkeesh says:

    Ah, but it does. My wife has her full licence less than two years, so she can’t be my accompanying driver.

  19. Olivier says:

    That is one aspect of Irish life that never ceases to surprise me: a learner driver who fails his driving test, gets to drive his car back home… Learner drivers should only be allowed on the road while learning to drive with an instructor and in a car with dual controls, like in most other countries. The current system is nonsensical and costs lives.

  20. ellybabes says:

    Olivier, I totally agree about the learner failing the test and then driving home – it’s just completely wrong.

    However, I’d query the logic of a learner doing all their lessons in dual control cars – there is certainly an argument for a certain number of lessons as they start to learn being done in such a car, but after they reach a certain level then it is better to move to their own car (the one they will be doing the test in). Learners can become too reliant on the fact that their instructor can take over if they do something wrong – and real life doesn’t work that way!

  21. Olivier says:

    If you rely on the instructor to take over, you fail the test… that’s how it works!

  22. George says:

    One of my co-workers was telling me this morning they rang to follow up on their test application on friday. They were offered a test spot tomorrow, which was too soon, was then offered a test slot on friday which was still too soon. When they asked for a date further out they got a test slot at the end of november.

    It’s not really relevant with the U-turn over the weekend but it does beg the question, how many of the people who complained about the waiting lists actually checked with the relevant authority?

  23. ellybabes » More learner driver news… says:

    […] the government’s partial U-turn on the changes to the learner driver rules, I was interested to see an article on breakingnews.ie today. Apparently around 2,400 learner […]

  24. Grannymar says:

    George – it is easier to whinge than pick up a phone….

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