Wednesday 18 October 2017

Ray vows to drive on with 12th attempt for full licence

Learner driver Ray Heffernan from Mayfield, Co Cork, who has failed at his 11th attempt to pass his driving test
Learner driver Ray Heffernan from Mayfield, Co Cork, who has failed at his 11th attempt to pass his driving test
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

HE vowed to pass his driving test by Christmas -- but veteran motorist Ray Heffernan has just failed at his 11th attempt.

But the 61-year-old, who has spent "a small fortune" on driving tests and lessons, is determined to pass in 2012 at the 12th attempt.

Last night, Mr Heffernan, a plasterer who lives in Mayfield in Cork, said he was determined to "get my licence and see that justice is done".

He said he was "shocked" at how some driving test officials assessed his skills and had gone to the district court on several occasions to challenge test rulings.

"I'm driving for over 40 years without a problem and I'm a safer driver than a lot of others on the roads today," he said.

To get a full driving licence, applicants must first sit a driver theory test and then secure a driving permit, which allows them to then sit their driving test.

To get a third or subsequent provisional driving licence, a person must show that they have undergone a driving test over the previous two-year period.

However, there is no limit to the number of provisional licences a person may hold once they comply with the two-year test requirement.

With only a few exceptions, all provisional licence holders must drive only while accompanied by a person who holds a full driving licence. This change was implemented under an overhaul of the driving licence regime in 2008.

Mr Heffernan has been trying to pass his test since 2004. His Nissan Almera car dating from that year is proudly kept in pristine condition.

Mr Heffernan's provisional licence is valid until 2013 -- allowing him two more years' motoring in a bid to finally pass his test.

He said he was "very upset" at how some had mocked his plight -- several reports referred to him as 'Ireland's worst driver'.

Mr Heffernan's worst test performance came when he recorded a total of 45 errors during a test run. His 10th test failure saw him log 26 mistakes.

But his most recent test witnessed a dramatic improvement and he only narrowly failed to make the grade.

"This whole thing has cost me a small fortune -- it is not cheap to sit a driving test now. But I'll see justice done yet," he added.

Irish Independent

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