Friday 22 September 2017

Third of learners take to wheel with no qualified driver

Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

ONE in three learner drivers are getting behind the wheel without being accompanied by a qualified driver.

And more than a quarter are not displaying L plates on their car. The worrying figures come as road safety campaigners accused parents of "turning a blind eye" to their sons and daughters breaking the law.

Gardai have carried out four operations so far this year to clamp down on learner drivers. The latest of these was earlier this month and it found that, while compliance rates are improving, a large number of young drivers are still acting irresponsibly.

Overall, 4,423 drivers were stopped during the four operations and 36pc were found to be driving without a qualified driver while 26pc were not displaying an L plate.

When the first operation was carried out in March, almost half of learners were driving unaccompanied while a third had no L plates. By this month, the figures had fallen to 35pc and 23pc respectively.

Launching its road safety appeal for the bank holiday weekend, Assistant Garda Commissioner Gerard Phillips said that while there has been an increase in compliance, gardai will continue to focus on learner drivers.

"The message is simple: if you are a learner permit holder, remember you are learning to drive. Don't make the mistake of thinking you know it all." Road Safety Authority (RSA) chief executive Noel Brett said parents must step in when young drivers are breaking the law.

"I would appeal directly to the parents of young learner drivers to stop turning a blind eye to what's going on."

Irish Independent

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