LEARNER drivers who have applied for their test should be exempt from a new law that can penalise parents, it has been claimed.
County Councillor Melissa Mullane said the new ‘Clancy Amendment’, governing learner drivers, was “very harsh” and called for more testers and centres to reduce waiting times.
The Clancy Amendment means the owner of the car, in most cases a parent, can be held liable if they allow a leaner to drive the vehicle unaccompanied, and a crash then occurs. The car can also be seized, if an unaccompanied driver is stopped at a checkpoint.
“I think, if the Government is adamant about enforcing the new rules, they need to put their money where their mouth is.
“We need additional testers and centres and I think that, until such time as they can put those in place, I think that any learner driver that has applied for the test should be omitted from the very harsh regulations there at the moment.”
Ms Mullane said it was becoming difficult for young people now to go to college, or to go to work.
Fianna Fáil councillor Bob Ryan said this legislation was another example of Transport Minister, Shane Ross, having no awareness of rural people.
“I think this regulation is penal. I am all for road safety and for ensuring accidents don’t occur, but I think if a learner driver had a number of lessons under their belt, that would make them proficient in what they are doing... but making them wait for months to get the driving test is not fair.
“I think this minister has shown his lack of knowledge for what happens around the country outside of Dublin 4.”
North Cork councillor John Paul O’Shea said: “The current waiting times for driving tests range from eight to 27 weeks across the country.
“In light of the recent implementation of the unaccompanied learner driver provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 — the Clancy Amendment — the current waiting times are unacceptable. These people have passed their theory test, they have completed their 12 compulsory driving lessons, and yet they have to wait far too long to take their test.”