AN ONLINE petition has gathered more than 8,500 signatures to seek the removal of a television and radio advertisement featuring a Corkman who lost his wife and daughter in a crash involving a learner driver.
The Road Safety Authority advertisement has been running since December 22, the anniversary of the deaths of Kilworth mother and daughter, Geraldine and Louise Clancy.
The pair died after a collision with a learner driver who was subsequently banned from driving for 15 years.
The advertisement features their husband and father, Noel, at the scene of the accident and alone at the family’s kitchen table.
The advertisement is part of the RSA’s Crashed Lives series and advises car owners that they can face prosecution and have their car seized if they give it to an unaccompanied learner driver.
It follows the enactment of the Clancy Amendment last month, which enables gardaí to prosecute the owner of a car driven by an unaccompanied learner driver and to also impound the car.
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.
An Uplift petition has been set up by Kerry driver Leigh Fitzell, asking that the advertisement be removed, claiming that it is discriminating against learner and young drivers.
He added: “The ad makes it look as if all learner drivers should be judged as dangerous people on the road when in fact they are not.
“This ad puts a stigma on learner drivers and it will make insurance premiums rise again and again.”
Mr Fitzell continued: “Although we sympathize with the bereavement that sadly occurred, this ad on television made by the Road Safety Authority Ireland is very stigmatising and discriminating to young people of Ireland and in particular Learner Drivers.
“Although, sadly, fatal accidents happen on Irish roads every year, some can be learners but also some can be drivers with much more experience.”
Mr Fitzell plans to send the petition to every TD, as well as to the RSA.