Wednesday 23 May 2018

'It's a joke' - why some drivers have to renew a 10-year licence after just five years

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Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

A motorist is calling for separate driving licences to be issued as he now has to pay for a new licence after just five years, despite renewing it for 10 years.

Licences issued for vehicles such as mopeds, motorbikes and cars (group one categories) are valid for up to 10 years, while licences issued for vehicles such as trucks and buses (group two categories) are only valid for a period of five years.

This means that drivers qualified in group one and group two categories, who may have renewed their licence for 10 years, will end up having to get a new one after five years.

Liam Moore works as a construction labourer. He renewed his driving licence in 2013 for a period of 10 years.

However, while category 1 expires in 2023, category 2 expires in June 2018.

"It's a bit of a joke if you ask me. Separate licences should be issued for the €55 fee to ensure people don't get caught out by this," Mr Moore told Independent.ie.

"I spoke with An Garda Siochana and they said if I was driving with a trailer on the back of the van after June without renewing my licence, then I would be breaking the law, so it has to be renewed."

Category 1 licences can be renewed for either one, three or 10 years - not five, which means it is impossible to renew both categories for a period of five years.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said this is a matter for the EU, not Ireland.

"The driving licence follows EU law, including periods of validity and the format of the licence... Any changes to these requirements - e.g. issuing a person with two licences, one for ten years for category B (car), and another for 5 years for the C and D (truck and bus) categories - would have to be made at EU rather than national level," Minister Ross said in an email to Mr Moore.

In 2013, European Union Directive 2006/126/EC was introduced, setting out that licences issued for group two or higher categories are only valid for five years.

Drivers qualified in these categories also have to undergo a medical every five years.

Motorists have to pay a standard fee of €55 to renew a licence which is greater than 3 years.

A spokesman for the Road Safety Authority issued the following response to former Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe, who enquired about this anomaly on Mr Moore's behalf.

"Mr Moore is required to renew his licence on expiry of those categories and will be required to pay the appropriate fee upon making  the application.

"Where a driver renews their group two categories, the group one categories that they hold will be extended for a further ten years except where that would extend past their 70th birthday or where  a medical practitioner has provided for a shorter period on a medical report form."

Meanwhile, it was announced earlier this week that from Monday, April 9, anybody applying for a driving licence or learner permit will need to have a Public Services Card (PSC).

The change to the NDLS application process means that in most cases when applying for a driving licence or learner permit the only things you now need to bring along are the completed application form, your PSC card and the fee.

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