MORE than 5,500 vehicles have been seized from unaccompanied learner drivers since the Clancy Amendment was introduced two years ago.
Over 12,600 fixed charge notices have been issued to Learner Permit drivers for driving unaccompanied 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.
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 to be driven by an unaccompanied driver.
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 driver.
This morning, Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said: “We cannot emphasise enough the importance of complying with this legislation. MPVs in inexperienced or unlicensed hands have the potential to severely or even fatally injure someone. An Garda Síochána will continue to enforce legislation that will improve road safety for all. Under the ‘Clancy Provision’ Learner or unlicensed drivers who choose to ignore this legislation will have their car seized and owners who allow their vehicle to be used will now face prosecution”.
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.
Geraldine Clancy 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.