Minister commences the unaccompanied learner driver provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, has today announced the commencement of the unaccompanied learner driver provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, with effect from 22nd December 2018, known as the ‘Clancy Amendment’.

These new provisions now make it an offence for the owner of a vehicle to knowingly allow an unaccompanied learner or an unlicensed person to drive his or her vehicle. The provisions also extend the power of detention under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 to allow the Garda Síochána to detain a vehicle being driven, in the Garda’s opinion, by an unaccompanied learner.

Speaking at the announcement the Minister said: “I hope that this new law will have a serious impact on driving culture in this country. I hope that vehicle owners will act responsibly when allowing learners to drive their vehicles, be those learners sons and daughters, friends, or other family members. As you are all aware, this Act had an exceptionally difficult passage through the Dáil where it was held up for an unacceptable amount of time. I sincerely hope the new speeding proposals, presented to the Cabinet last week, will not face similar filibustering.

Nevertheless, we have together overcome the difficulties connected with this Act and are now here today commencing these important provisions in honour of Geraldine and Louise Clancy. Unaccompanied learner driving is illegal and it is dangerous. Once and for all we need to stamp out the entirely false notion that once someone has a learner permit they are free to drive as they wish. A learner permit is not a driving licence. It does not grant the holder the automatic right to use a car for commuting or socialising purposes, unless, or course, that learner is accompanied. Those who argue that putting an end to unaccompanied learner driving will somehow make life harder for people are missing the point.

The provisions we are launching today will make learners focus on the task of developing their driving skills to the required standard and on acquiring a full licence. Every week my Department is accused of crucifying rural Ireland and of wilfully making life difficult for young people. The reality is that we are doing neither of these things. This new piece of legislation is about preventing collisions and saving lives.”

Commenting on the introduction of the new law Noel Clancy said, “We are very pleased that this new law is coming into effect at last. We are looking forward to it being enforced by the Gardaí and more importantly observed by car owners and learner drivers.”

Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said: “Now, with the introduction of the ‘Clancy Amendment’, if you are an unaccompanied learner driver or you let one drive unaccompanied, you will face the consequences. A learner permit is not a licence. Learners have not passed a driving test. As inexperienced and unqualified drivers they’re a risk to themselves and other road users if allowed to drive unsupervised.”

“To support the introduction of the new law the RSA collaborated with Noel Clancy to develop a new ‘Crashed Lives’ public awareness campaign. In the 60 second ad that will premier tonight on TV we will hear his message - that if you let a learner drive unaccompanied, you’re putting them, and everyone on the road at risk. And the consequences for Noel is a life where he’ll never see his life partner and young daughter ever again. I want to thank Noel for his courage in coming forward to help get this message out to the public, which he is doing so that no other family will have to go through what his family has had to live with. We all owe Noel, and all the other families who speak out in the name of road safety a huge debt of gratitude.”

The new ‘Crashed Lives’ campaign includes a 60 second TV advertisement and 30 second radio ad. Both will air for the first time from Friday 21 December and run through to the end of January 2019. The campaign is also being shown in cinemas over Christmas and will run online and on social media.

Assistant Commissioner David Sheahan 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. So far in 2018, An Garda Síochána has issued approximately 4,500 FCN’s to learner permit holders who chose to ignore legislation and drove unaccompanied.”

Press Office, Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, 01 604 1090 / 01 604 1093;

Notes for Editors
The new ad can be viewed here

Initial Publication Date: