Almost 1200 cars seized from unaccompanied learner drivers this year

Almost 1200 cars seized from unaccompanied learner drivers this year

CLOSE to 1,200 vehicles have been seized under the Clancy Amendment since the start of this year.

And a total of 3,700 detections have been made of unaccompanied learner drivers in the same period.

Since December 2018, gardaí have the power to seize vehicles driven by unaccompanied learner drivers. The legislation also enables the prosecution of vehicle owners who allow their vehicles to be driven by unaccompanied learners.

The Road Safety Authority revealed the figures to The Echo as it emerged that Sinn Féin TD Pat Buckley was detected for drink driving while driving on a provisional licence in 2013. It also follows the revelation that Minister for Agriculture Barry Cowen was caught for drink driving in 2016, also while driving on a provisional licence.

Pat Buckley Sinn Fein
Pat Buckley Sinn Fein

Spokesperson for the Road Safety Authority, Brian Farrell, said the number of detections and vehicle seizures were high considering that the Covid-19 lockdown would have seen less cars on the roads.

But Mr Farrell said: "During the lockdown, there were also high numbers detected for speeding, drink driving and drug driving."

Before December 2018, learners could be fined for driving without a driver who has a full licence, but there was no penalty for a car owner to allow their vehicle be driven by an unaccompanied driver.

A learner driver caught driving unaccompanied receives two penalty points – or four, if challenged unsuccessfully in court. There is also a fine of €120.

A car owner could face a fine of up to €1,000 and they also have to pay a release fee for their vehicle.

The fee to release the vehicle is €125 for the first day and €35 for a whole or part of each subsequent day.

The so-called Clancy Amendment was introduced in memory of Kilworth man Noel Clancy's wife Geraldine and daughter Louise, who were killed in a collision three years earlier with an unaccompanied learner, Susan Gleeson.

Geraldine was driving Louise to Fermoy to catch a bus to Cork when the accident happened.

In February 2017, an inquest found the Clancy women had both died from acute cardiorespiratory failure due to drowning following a road traffic accident.

The accident took place just half a mile from the Clancy home outside Kilworth and Noel was among those who assisted at the scene of the accident.

The impact of the collision resulted in Clancys' Ford Focus being pushed into a flooded drain. He did not realise that his loved ones were the victims until he spotted the number plate of the family's car.

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