A new law has been introduced in Ireland that makes it an offence for the owner of a vehicle to knowingly allow an unaccompanied learner or an unlicensed person to drive his or her vehicle.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, announced the commencement of the unaccompanied learner driver provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, known as the “Clancy Amendment”. The provisions extend the power of detention under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 to allow the Garda Síochána to detain a vehicle being driven, in the Garda’s opinion, by an unaccompanied learner.
“I hope that this new law will have a serious impact on driving culture in this country,” said Ross. “I hope that vehicle owners will act responsibly when allowing learners to drive their vehicles, be those learners sons and daughters, friends, or other family members.
“Unaccompanied learner driving is illegal and it is dangerous. Once and for all we need to stamp out the entirely false notion that once someone has a learner permit they are free to drive as they wish. A learner permit is not a driving licence. It does not grant the holder the automatic right to use a car for commuting or socialising purposes, unless, or course, that learner is accompanied.”
The new unaccompanied learner provisions have been introduced in honour of Geraldine and Louise Clancy, killed in a crash caused by a learner driver. To support the introduction of the new law the Road Safety Authority (RSA) collaborated with husband and father Noel Clancy to develop a new “Crashed Lives” public awareness campaign, running until the end of January.
“Now, with the introduction of the “Clancy Amendment”, if you are an unaccompanied learner driver or you let one drive unaccompanied, you will face the consequences,” said Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA. “A learner permit is not a licence. Learners have not passed a driving test. As inexperienced and unqualified drivers they’re a risk to themselves and other road users if allowed to drive unsupervised.”
Under the “Clancy Amendment” learner or unlicensed drivers who ignore the legislation will have their car seized and owners who allow their vehicle to be used will face prosecution.