Monday 20 November 2017

Revealed: Car owners who permit learner drivers to use their vehicles unaccompanied face prison or €2,000 fine

Check that both your documentation and car are in order before turning up for your driving test
Check that both your documentation and car are in order before turning up for your driving test
Driving instructors say young drivers are picking up bad habits. Photo: Getty Images.
Geraldine Clancy and her daughter Louise Ann Clancy
Learner driver Susan Gleeson wept in court as she apologised to the Clancy family Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Car owners who permit learner drivers to use their vehicles unaccompanied face prosecution for the first time under new measures being brought to Cabinet today.

Transport Minister Shane Ross will also seek approval to give gardaí the power to seize vehicles on the spot - if a learner driver is driving unaccompanied, the Irish Independent is reporting.

Other potential penalties include a fine of €2,000 and six months in prison.

The exact penalties still require final approval by the Attorney General.

The proposals are being dubbed the "Clancy amendment" - in recognition of a campaign by Cork man Noel Clancy.

His wife, Geraldine Clancy and their daughter, Louise Ann, were drowned three days before Christmas 2015 after a collision with a learner driver in Co Cork.

The accident happened less than 1km from the Clancy's family farm.

The driver, Susan Gleeson (21)  pleaded guilty before Cork Circuit Criminal Court to dangerous driving causing the death of Geraldine (58) and, Louise Ann (22).

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, a neighbour of the family, was given a three year suspended prison sentence.

Tragically, one of the first to arrive on the scene in a bid to help shortly after 11am that day was Noel Clancy.

Geraldine Clancy and her daughter Louise Ann Clancy
Geraldine Clancy and her daughter Louise Ann Clancy

He initially didn't recognise the overturned Ford as their family car - and was shocked minutes later to discover his wife and daughter had both died.

The move comes ahead of a Dail debate next week on a mandatory drink-driving ban.

Learner driver Susan Gleeson wept in court as she apologised to the Clancy family Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision
Learner driver Susan Gleeson wept in court as she apologised to the Clancy family Photo: Daragh McSweeney/Provision

For the first time drivers will be put off the road for three months if they are found to have reached a blood-alcohol limit of 50-80mg per 100ml.

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