So many interesting letters and emails come in each week, I thought it would be nice on the odd occasion to let a few of our readers air their views.
If you feel like commenting on, or telling of your experiences, with any aspect of motoring – from fuel prices, to servicing charges, to road surfaces, taxation, other drivers, how a garage dealt with you, anything you consider worthy of the effort – let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, address and phone number, purely for verification purposes. Please be assured none of your details will be published without your express permission.
MY son and daughter, both third-year college students, recently did the driving test for the first time, at two different centres. They both failed for what I would consider just nit-picking. My daughter was taken to the back of a major hospital where there were cars parked willy nilly all over the place and she was told she didn't keep far enough out from them.
My son was told he was going too slow. If he were going any faster he would have been told he was going too fast. They both had spent some €500 each on driving lessons.
They had plenty of practice of driving in all conditions, night and day, rain or otherwise.
As an accident-free driver for the past 40 years I have every confidence in them.
And yet, when it comes to the day of the test they are at the whim of whatever tester they get.
I am convinced that there is a deliberate policy of failing first timers just for the sake of generating extra revenue. Other people I have spoken to, like my local garage owner, say the same.
Now here is an argument that is worth considering.
All new drivers are obliged to take 12 hours of formal driving tuition. Logically, the pass rate in the driving test should be dramatically improved.
If it is not then what is the point of the tuition?
This confirms the suspicion that there is a dishonest policy of failing first-timers just for the revenue.
Name and address with Motoring Editor
Eddie writes: What do you think? Let us know at email@example.com
The cost and value of tyres
It is alright for you to espouse the virtues of tyres (Motoring, Jan 16) but it is a tough job for the rest of us to keep the ones we have. The cost of replacing a set of tyres is so high now I think people are doing everything they can to put off the day. I know that can be dangerous but it is the reality, so you might bear that in mind with your high and mighty reporting on tyres in the future.
R Grady, Bray
Last week I had to have our Nissan Micra retested at the Clifden test centre as it needed new front discs and track rods. It was first tested four working days earlier. I had then explained to the mechanic that I was in a panic to get the test sorted out as my son had his driving test the following week.
He told me all I needed to do was to take the car back to him, and not bother doing a formal booking. I did as he said but to my horror the gent manning the office insisted on seeing identification (again). I hadn't brought any.
As I had showed my driving licence four days earlier I didn't consider for a moment he would want to see it again.
He made a real song and dance about it and for a moment I thought I would have to do another 70-mile round trip.
I am sure he noted the particulars from the licence on the first day, may even have photocopied it, and he should easily have remembered me as he discussed the local mart while I was waiting for the car.
Luckily for me the mechanic, a grounded, practical person, came in and resolved the impasse by suggesting some other document – I found my daughter's licence in the glove compartment.
So I have to ask what was the purpose of insisting on the ID a second time there?
To me it was sheer bloodymindedness and showed no common sense. We are a most hassled nation at the moment and can well do without unwarranted aggravation.
(Note: this letter has been edited for legal reasons)
Eddie comments: Strictly speaking you should have had your driving licence with you. It is a requirement. However, I sympathise with the delay and frustration you faced.