Instructors hit out at 12-hour extra lessons

Martin Flanagan

DESPERATE efforts to cut road death tolls by targeting learner drivers have been described as both "unworkable" and "confusing".

Strict regulations introduced by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) will see drivers seeking a first-time licence having to complete a mandatory 12 hours of tuition before they can sit their final test.

However, the Irish Driving Instructors' Association (IDIA) said the strict regulations are "completely inadequate".

Under the rules, learner drivers will be issued with a logbook that a driving instructor will sign each time a driving test is completed.

The RSA said drivers have to complete 12 hours of monitored tests over a period of six months in order to sit their final driving test.

In response to the introduction of the new regulations, IDIA chairperson Cathy Bacon said the new lessons are "inadequate" and provide "no flexibility".

"Training has always been tailored to individual drivers with people progressing at different rates. The new mandatory lessons provide no flexibility for this."

She added: "The fact that learners don't have to achieve any of the steps under the new rules, and only have to present themselves for the lessons, may risk giving drivers a false sense of competence."

Some driving instructors said they are uneasy about signing the logbook because certain drivers may not be competent enough to drive in the first place.

However, under the new regulations they will have to sign the logbook, regardless of a driver's expertise.

In response to concerns raised on behalf of IDIA, RSA spokesman Brian Farrell insisted the new rules were very straightforward.


"The instructor's job was to provide the lesson and certify that it's been completed," he said.

Farrell added that there are no rules in place for learner drivers to seek additional lessons above the assigned 12 hours.

Meanwhile, Irish Insurance Federation public affairs spokesman Niall Doyle welcomed the new law.

He said the federation had been calling for compulsory basic training for more than a decade.

"We need learner drivers trained as a matter of law and we'll get much better drivers as a consequence," he said.