AT last Ireland will have a driver training programme on a par with the best in the world.
Getting a licence will be harder and take longer, but the changes will help reduce road deaths.
Measures introduced by the Road Safety Authority since 2007 have resulted in drivers being better trained today than ever before.
They must sit a theory test before getting behind the wheel, take mandatory lessons and wait for six months before applying for the test.
And the changes coming down the track mean that motorists will be forced to remain on their best behaviour after passing the test, or face being put off the road.
By telling learners and newly qualified drivers they will be disqualified if they get just six penalty points, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is, in effect, extending the training period, which can only be good for road safety.
That means no talking on mobile phones (two points), no speeding (two points) and no tailgating (two points).
It means that even when learners pass the test, they have to keep up that good behaviour for another two years or risk losing their licence.
Lower drink-driving limits coming into force from next September also mean a zero-alcohol limit for learners. Just one pint will put them over the limit.
It's a win-win situation. Better training and no alcohol means better, safer drivers and fewer deaths.
The alternative is a return to the bad old days, where a learner driver could sit a test just weeks after getting a provisional licence and without any formal training.
Learners only had to display good behaviour while doing the test, but once they passed, the rules of the road were often thrown out the window.
The upshot was needless deaths on the roads.
The statistics are stark -- in 2002, 376 people were killed. Last year, the total was 212.
The lower death toll is undoubtedly down to a change in attitudes to drink driving, but better roads, more education, garda enforcement and improved driving standards have also helped.
There's nothing radical or off-the-wall in the measures coming down the line.
Countries including Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK all impose stringent rules on learner drivers. We're just playing catch up.