System flaw for L drivers 'killing 15 every year'
The country's learner driver system is "killing 15 people" on our roads every year, it has been claimed.
Driving instructors are calling for changes to Essential Driver Training (EDT) programme as they are concerned over inexperienced motorists driving unaccompanied.
Instructors are using the start of Road Safety Week to highlight what they see as flaws in the system.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) introduced the programme in 2011 to improve the learner driver safety.
But since its inception, driving instructors have spoken out about a number of problems with the EDT.
Aidan Jordan, director of Jordan School of Motoring, has been leading a campaign calling on the RSA to address the "blatant problems" with the system, which he said is leading to needless deaths.
"As the system stands, you have to do 12 one-hour lessons before you do your test but then you are also expected to practice with a sponsor for three hours in between lessons, and that is where the problem is occurring," he said.
Mr Jordan says that the majority of learner drivers in Ireland are practicing unaccompanied and RSA statistics back that assertion up, with 43pc of learner drivers choosing to drive alone. "It bothered me how learner drivers were driving unaccompanied to meet me at the test centre.
"I stopped meeting learner drivers at test centres in 2010. Overnight my business fell by 40pc."
"The learner driver system in Ireland is killing up to 15 people a year and something needs to be done," he added.
Mr Jordan says his motivation to do something about the current system stems from people who have lost their lives in road accidents involving unaccompanied learner drivers.
Francis Docaigne, director of Castletown School of Motoring in Celbridge, Co Kildare, says the EDT system is far from satisfactory.
"I strongly do believe that you should not have a learner permit until an assessment is conducted by the RSA to see if the driver is fit to be on a public road.
"Nationally speaking, the RSA say up to 15 people are killed nationally by learner drivers on the road," he said.
In response to questions about the EDT system, the RSA said: "Ireland has a model that has formal training - the RSA emphasises that best practice is to mix the formal training with accompanied practice overseen by a sponsor."