Tuesday 25 April 2017

Gardaí may seize cars driven by learners on their own

Road safety groups have expressed concern over the number of serious collisions involving learner drivers. (Stock picture)
Road safety groups have expressed concern over the number of serious collisions involving learner drivers. (Stock picture)
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Transport Minister Shane Ross is considering new legislation to allow gardaí to seize vehicles being driven by unaccompanied learner drivers.

Road safety groups have expressed concern over the number of serious collisions involving learner drivers.

Cork farmer Noel Clancy has fronted a campaign for tougher enforcement of regulations on learner drivers.

He did so after a tragic collision outside Kilworth, Co Cork, on December 22, 2015 in which his wife Geraldine (58) and daughter Louise (22) Clancy died.

The mother and daughter drowned when their vehicle ploughed into a flooded ditch after it had been struck by another car at a blind junction on the R666 road.

The driver of the other car, Susan Gleeson (21), pleaded guilty to dangerous driving causing death before Cork Circuit Criminal Court last November.

Cork farmer Noel Clancy has fronted a campaign for tougher enforcement of regulations on learner drivers. Photo: Daragh McSweeney
Cork farmer Noel Clancy has fronted a campaign for tougher enforcement of regulations on learner drivers. Photo: Daragh McSweeney

Ms Gleeson was driving unaccompanied on a learner permit.

Road safety campaign group PARC insisted the legislation was "a no-brainer".

"When a garda stops a learner driver and charges him or her for driving unaccompanied, it makes no sense whatsoever that the garda must then allow that driver to continue their journey driving unaccompanied," a PARC spokesperson said.

In a Dáil reply, Mr Ross acknowledged that, in terms of learner drivers, the law may need to be changed.

"Currently, gardaí have the power to detain vehicles in a number of circumstances such as where the vehicle is untaxed, uninsured or does not have an NCT," he said.

"An extension of this power to cover vehicles being driven by unaccompanied learners would require an amendment to Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act, 1994.

"I would like to advise that this is something that I am willing to consider in the context of future road traffic legislation."

Tommy Broughan TD had asked whether gardaí currently have the power for such a crackdown on unaccompanied learner drivers.

Irish Independent

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