Saturday 16 December 2017

Have your say and make our roads safers

The driving test is set for an overhaul
The driving test is set for an overhaul

Moyagh Murdock

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first driving test in Ireland. As we reflect on the progress that's been made in road safety, it is an ideal opportunity to seek the public's views on the test's future direction.

Learner and novice drivers are among our most vulnerable road users.

Crash data both here and internationally shows that learner drivers and novice drivers, particularly in the first two years after passing the test, are at greater risk than experienced drivers, largely due to inexperience.

The available evidence suggests that a driver is considered to be inexperienced until he or she has driven 100,000km.

It is common for inexperienced drivers to overestimate their ability and skill levels, particularly once they have passed their driving test. This places them at higher risk of being involved in a collision.

Results from UK studies show that an 18-year-old driver is more than three times more likely to be involved in a crash than a 48-year-old. Furthermore, one in five new drivers has a crash within six months of passing their test.

The way we are trained, tested and licensed has changed dramatically over the past decade.

One of the key measures of the previous and current Government Road Safety Strategy was the introduction of a Graduated Licensing System (GDL).

GDL aims to reduce the number of collisions, deaths and injuries among novice drivers, particularly high-risk 17-to-24 year olds, during the learning period.

A number of measures have been introduced that apply to all drivers with a learner permit. Some measures continue to apply for the first two years after acquiring a driving licence.

A theory test and mandatory driving lessons, with regulated driving instructors, are now required.

A six-month rule applies before taking a driving test. A lower drink-drive limit applies for learner drivers and novice drivers for a two-year period after passing the driving test.

We now want to reform the driving test itself and we would like the public's views on our proposals.

So, download a copy of the consultation document from, and make your submission before July 18.

Moyagh Murdock is Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority

Irish Independent

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