Dáil Éireann - Volume 494 - 30 September, 1998

Written Answers - Driving Licences.

528. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his policy in relation to the right of learner drivers to drive without the supervision of a qualified or experienced driver; the plans, if any, the Government has to change the law in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16915/98]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy): Under regulations in operation since 1989 all provisional licence holders, with the exception of those who hold: (a) a second provisional licence in respect of category B vehicles (cars); or (b) a provisional licence to drive vehicles in categories A1, A or W (motorcycles or tractors-work vehicles), must be accompanied by a qualified driver while driving. A qualified driver is a person who holds a full driving licence in respect of the vehicle category being driven.

The recently published Government Strategy for Road Safety 1998-2002 has prioritised action against speeding, alcohol and non-seatbelt wearing as having the greatest and most immediate potential to achieve the gains in road safety targeted by the strategy. In addition, the new strategy proposes a range of measures designed to improve the formation and training of drivers. These include assisting the Driver Instructor Register towards quality certification; the introduction of a theory test separate from the driving test; the possibility of a new training initiative for motor cyclists and a longer term significant reduction in the number of drivers relying on a provisional licence.