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Ministerial crap boggles learner drivers

category international | miscellaneous | opinion/analysis author Friday October 26, 2007 20:50author by jim traversauthor email jimtravers at eircom dot net Report this post to the editors

Provo driving licences

Although I welcome this long awaited initiative by the Road safety Authority in attempting to reduce the carnage we see on our road each year,I cannot help but wonder at the thinking that went into calling an immediate halt to the driving by drivers holding a provisional driving licence while unaccompanied.

Although I welcome this long awaited initiative by the Road safety Authority in attempting to reduce the carnage we see on our road each year,I cannot help but wonder at the thinking that went into calling an immediate halt to the driving by drivers holding a provisional driving licence while unaccompanied. It once again shown the very negative attitude and lack of thought that went into the drafting of these new regulations without any consideration as to the implications such regulations would have on a considerable number of people who depend on the use of a motor vehicle in order to commute to work or to conduct other social activities.The Celtic Tiger brought a prosperity that enabled very many people to take up something that they otherwise may not have done under different circumstances, drive a car.The fact that a considerable number of people now live outside the commuter belt of Dublin, should have brought some consideration and passion by the Authority for those who need their vehicles in order to do things that can easily be done by those who have public transport,taxis ect, outside their hall doors.

A more simpler and straightforward system would have been as follows;

1. Close the issuing of provisional driving licences on the 25th October
2.Hold press conference announcing the new system on the 26th October.
3.Issue new driving permits to new applicants from the the 30th October with all the restriction fully in place.
4. Allow all current provisional licence holders to use their licences until they expire (2years maximum)
5.All provisional licence holders must apply immediately for a date in order to take the test and must on request show a member of An Garda Siochana a booking form stating the date of that test.This booking date must be made no later than one moth after the new system has come into operation
6.The current restrictions on third and subsequent provisional driving licence holders needing to be accompanied by a qualified driver should be lifted in order for these drivers to prepare for taking the test.(this original rule was absolutely mad and had no logical reasoning attached to it, allowing a second licence holder to drive unaccompanied and then compelling a third licence driver to have a qualified driver) taking into account that a second provisional licence holder could drive unaccompanied.

6.First issue provisional licence restrictions should remain the same.

With this system fully in place the objectives of the RSA would be fully met while at the same time allow all provisional driving licence holders to make adequate preparation for the complete changeover to the new system.This would also relieve considerable pressure on the various driving test centres in having to cope with the sudden influx of applications for testing.

It is also very important to note that to date the majority of well established driving schools in themselves have not come up to a standard of driving tuition that warrants such harsh measures when compelling provisional drivers to seek professional help and tuition.In my professional opinion and with extensive experience and research into the standards of the vast majority of our driving schools, I have come to a conclusion that it may have been far better to address the problems of both the shortfall in qualified driving instructors and the manner in which driving schools conduct their business that has directly contributed to the skills problems we see today by many of our drivers on the road. Waiting lists for driving tests have not been adequately addressed and waiting time till range fro 8 weeks to 50 weeks in some centre around the country.The taxi industry has remained untouched, despite all the evidence of bad driving by members of that industry throughout the country.

We all want to see a reduction in fatalities on our roads but we must also not forget that a government minister sanctioned the issuing of full drivers licences to those on provisional licences without them having to take the test.These people are still on the roads and these people are just a dangerous as those who want to apply for the driving test and are prepared to take that test.

While we understand and accept that the current situation cannot go on indefinatly, there must be a gradual transition to the new system so that people(and they are human) can adapt and make provision for the change taking place.

The RSA made a mistake that was ill thought out and exsecuted. The honourable thing to do now is to give people some breathing space in order to get their house in order.
In our modern society, driving to quite a number of people is a necessity in life. Its not like the smoking ban where there was an alternative to smoking indoors.This is different. Lives may be saved but there again this rule may cause provisional drivers to commit an even more dangerous action and one which might lead to more deaths, remove the plates that announce to others that they are learner drivers and need some space.

Like the FAI debacle the RSA has also plunged itself into the situation where ordinary mere mortals now question their professional ability. Unlike the FAI the RSA has it within its own ability to admit they may have been wrong. Its now up to them.

Learner drivers are just one part of a bigger problem which over time has become part of our culture and our way of life. Irrespective of what rules and regulations that come into place, innocent people will continue to be killed on our roads by both learner and experienced drivers basically because they could not give a shit about anybody except them and theirs. The Road Safety Authority made a major mistake due to the fact that they did not take into account the problems such an action would have on the everyday lives of very many decent, honest and caring people who unfortunately require a car in order to conduct their daily affairs and who unfortunately are provisional license holders. Mr Byrne and Mr Brett got their licences at a time when you handed the cash over the counter and you got a licence that allowed you to drive anything short of an aeroplane. When a drunken politician and member of a political party decided to drive his vehicle down the wrong side of the N7, he was not a provisional driver, he had a full licence and still holds that licence to this day, despite the fact that he could have murdered many innocent people by his actions.

What the Road Safety Authority had in mind was a smoking ban style of attack on motorists, which if successful, would have gone down as yet another political success and a major road safety coup.
We may all say "serves them right" but a couple with children, struggling to pay a mortgage, living outside the city boundaries and who require transport in order work and pay their bills, requires a system whereby the transition to full compliance is made as smooth as possible within a reasonable period of time. Telling people they will not be able to drive after the 30th of October or face a severe penalty for doing so, is but something you would not expect to be organised at a boys scouts meeting, never mind at the highest level of a road safety organisation.

We now hear Minister Dempsey telling us that the Gardai will use their discretion and then in the next breath says"the law is the law'. The Gardai on the other hand are telling us they will apply the law and discretion on an individual basis will not come into play.

All this unclear and straightforward information fuzzed by people in authority who basically do not know what they are doing. Mary O 'Rourke broke the news on Newstalk106 that the plan was scrapped until next year while Gaybo and Noel Brett were talking up enforcement on the 30th of October at the very same time. We now find that the whole scenario which unfolded has now been left to the learner drivers own discretion when deciding to driver a car after the 30th of October.
God help us if these people were the guardians of the nuclear button. We now pay our Taoiseach more money than what the President of the United States, the most power man on the planet, gets for an annual salary. And we still cannot sort out our own internal problems never mind a simple problem of finding a equitable resolution to our provisional driving licence debacle.
Its not good enough to hear claims and counter claims that it will be, it wont be and then it will be enforced on the 30th of October. Its either on or off, its either a bad mistake that needs to be resolved at a later date or it means learner drivers will be prosecuted on Tuesday morning if they are caught driving a car unaccompanied by a qualified driver.
All political parties including members of Fianna Fail and the Green party have said there is a serious problem with both the time frame for the application of this regulation and the thought which was placed in the method behind the regulation and for that Mr Byrne and Mr Brett must now step down.

Related Link: http://www.shitedrivers.com
author by annabelpublication date Mon Oct 29, 2007 15:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With regard to the Learner Driver situation, it is so baffling why a decision like this was made over a Bank Holiday weekend when offices are closed.

It seems to me the Minister Noel Dempsey and Gay Byrne consulted with nobody on the issue. They didnt seem to realise even how many provisional licence holders this country has. All the facts and figures should have been set before them. The AA and other competent bodies should be in charge of the Road Safety issue.

First of all they should contact all 3rd and subsequent provisional licence holders and get them to organise a test as soon as possible including all those who need to renew their licences. These should all have a date set for their test by Jan 1st 2008.

Then they should tackle the 2nd provisional licence holders.

Anyone applying for a 1st licence should now receive a learner permit.

The age limit for drivers should be 18 years.

Then they should not allow anyone who drinks to drive - with immediate effect. (if they can do it to the learners they can do it to the drinkers)

Speed limit cameras should be set up on all motorways and major roads.

Speed limit signs should be put up on minor roads.

Signs for all Roads should be put up and all decrepid road signs should be replaced with bigger signage so that drivers can actually SEE where they are going.

I think it is a bit much to see 2nd provisional licence holders out there driving while 3rd and 4th etc are asked to have a qualified driver beside them. Sorry but it so lacking in intelligence. Yikes what a terrible terrible mess...

author by wageslavepublication date Mon Oct 29, 2007 19:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

perhaps fix up some of the crappier deathtrap roads outside Dublin that regularly claim lives instead of scapegoating and demonising learner drivers to avoid paying out cash for non profitable ( to them and their pals) expensive minor road improvements.

We've all met a huge lorry on such a road and wondered, still shaking afterwards how this can be allowed and why freight does not travel by rail

(Not the mention the hidden subsidy we pay to such business enterprises when the road damage and carbon emissions their heavy vehicles generate on our roads is disproportionate to the tax they pay.)

Third provisional drivers have by definition done at least 2 driving tests whereby they were expected to train to drive in an unrealistic largely aspirational nit picky manner that they will only do for one day in their lives. As such, they have by definition made more of an effort to learn to drive properly than many on the road today.

They have to wait six months to retest, They have to pay e30 for a retest then another wad for their provisional license each year then a huge premium from the insurance companies, no matter how many years they have a no claims bonus for. And the failure rate on these tests, often for trivial errors, is huge. Of course the testers don't mind such a high failure rate though. Plenty of money and a long term guarantee of employment for them.

And its really the driving instructors fault isn't it? I mean it Couldn't POSSIBLY be anything to do with the nature of the test itself or the testers.

And after all that, they then have to go on the road with lots of people who never did a test in their lives at all who are licensed to drive a lorry or even a bus!

Its a farce

Has Mr Dempsey released the figures for the ratio of licenced drivers vs provisional drivers involved in accidents as a percentage of the group to back up this demonisation of already harangued provisional drivers?

It's Legislation by popular hearsay otherwise.

but then, we know that already don't we?

author by Edpublication date Tue Oct 30, 2007 00:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A question arises from all of this -
who has the final say in garda operational decisions - the minister or the garda commissioner?
Parallels with Rossport?

author by katie treacy - just a personpublication date Fri Jun 13, 2008 13:04author email margaretoshea at boardband dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

in my opinoin this law is ridiculas,i my self am 17 and will be starting collage in september,if this law is inforced what will i do?not go??i live in a rural area,my mother is a very busy and hardworking community development worker and i do not want to disrupt her work as she has to travel.many of my friends and boyfriend use their cars to comuited from rural areas.If you ask me this sould not be inforced for another year as giveing the people of the country time to sit and pass their driving test. The economie is in enough distress without contributing to the rising levels of unemployment and also affedting peoples educations,their are also many elderly and people with disablitys that depend on thier car for transport.yours sincerly
katie treacy.

author by hellcat1983publication date Fri Jul 04, 2008 11:34author email cvwalsh at msn dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Short and sweet, it's utterly ridiculous and very very typical of the Irish governent to implement a law like this, which is and outrageous solution to a problem caused by them in the first place, without any considering or understanding of the Irish public many of whom currently hold provisional license. This will undoubtebly affect this country in other ways that the Minister of Transport hasn't even considered. And that's the problem right there, decline in fuel sales, car sales & a rise in unemployment rates as well as a drop in college or further education enrollment are going to be just a few of the inevitable consequences which will follow. By then again, why should the government care when this law doesn't affect them directly as with a lot of other new thoughtless laws due to be introduced in the near future.

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