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There's Over 21,000 People Driving In Ireland Without A Full License

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There's Over 21,000 People Driving In Ireland Without A Full License

Over the past year of lockdowns and restrictions, how many of us have had the genius brainwave that we should use all this newfound spare time to do something productive like, say, learn to drive?

Many of us had our dreams of hitting the open road, driving from staycation to staycation all over the Emerald Isle well and truly dashed once we discovered the enormous waiting lists that have built up for driving lessons, theory test appointments and driving test appointments due to a COVID-induced backlog.

Still, it's important we don't fall at the first hurdle - once you get your provisional license, it is crucial you then go all the way and secure an actual valid driving license. It sounds obvious but a recent report on Newstalk revealed that 21,000 people in Ireland have been driving with only a learners permit over the past 11 years!

The figures, which were released to Newstalk under the Freedom of Information Act, also showed the 4,600 have been on the roads without a full license for 21 years - that's more than two decades of contemplating taking a back road in case there's Gardaí about.

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Photo by Alex Jumper on Unsplash
Photo by Alex Jumper on Unsplash

A representative from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) named Brian Farrell commented on the figures on live on air, expressing his concern: "It's an extreme case we are taking about here in terms of people on a learners' permit for such a length of time, but it is a practice that does need to be stamped out because it's making a mockery of the system," Mr Farrell said.

"We have made submissions to the Department for Transport in relation to measures that could be introduced to further disincentivise people rolling over their learner permits continuously and not taking a test," he continued.

What's worse is that, as we know, in Ireland your first and second learner permit usually lasts for about two years each time while a third and subsequent permit lasts for one year. What's more, you can't even apply for a third or subsequent learner permit unless you've recently done a driving test or have an upcoming test, meaning most of these drivers are not just driving on a learners permit but a learners permit that has long since expired.

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Farrell did accept that there have been obstacles to booking tests in recent times due to COVID restrictions but his position on the matter was clear: "Really and truly at this stage these people should be coming forward for a driving test." You heard the man!

Featured Image Credit: Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Topics: Ireland

Gary Grimes
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