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Explainer: What are the new laws for learner drivers? What are the penalties?



Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

MOTORISTS who allow learner drivers to use their car unaccompanied could end up behind bars under new legislation which came into effect today.

The so-called 'Clancy Amendment' means motorists could face new penalties.

Here is everything we know about what it means for you:

What were the previous rules?

Until now learner drivers had to be accompanied by someone who holds a full licence.

If a learner driver was caught driving unaccompanied they can face a maximum fine of €1,000.

The person who owns the vehicle would not face any punishment.

What has changed?

Motorists who let learner drivers use their cars unaccompanied will face jail time or fines under new laws which have come into force today.

Unaccompanied learner drivers may now have their vehicle seized by gardaí.

In addition, anyone who loans a car to an unaccompanied learner driver faces prosecution and having their car impounded, following the amendment to the law.

Why is it called the Clancy Amendment?

The amendment is named after the Clancy family, who lost two members in a crash involving an unaccompanied learner three years ago today.

Noel Clancy lost his wife Geraldine (58) and daughter Louise (22) on December 22, 2015.

He even came across the crash and offered to help, not realising who was in the overturned car.

Mr Clancy has repeatedly called for stricter measures to crack down on unaccompanied learned drivers.

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He said in 2016: "I think it is important to reflect on the question, on any given day, (of) how many learner drivers are on the roads of Ireland unaccompanied.

"I am calling on the minister to implement legislation so that allowing one's car to be driven by an unaccompanied learner driver is an offence and would make both the car owner and driver equally accountable in law."

The RSA said a learner permit is not a licence and drivers are at risk, due to their inexperience, when they're learning to drive.

What has the Transport Minister said?
Transport Minister Shane Ross said on Friday that he hopes the legislation will help to save lives.

"Unaccompanied learner driving is illegal and it is dangerous. Once and for all we need to stamp out the entirely false notion that once someone has a learner permit they are free to drive as they wish.

"A learner permit is not a driving licence. It does not grant the holder the automatic right to use a car for commuting or socialising purposes, unless, of course, that learner is accompanied," he said.

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