Many Irish learner drivers have been using a loop-hole that allows them to renew their learners permit over and over, which encourages them to avoid getting a full driver’s license. The longest running learners permit has 23 renewals, which is the equivalent to nearly 50 years without a full driving license.
Drivers who have learner permits are able to renew their permit after two years, if they have failed their test, or if they have proof that they attempted to apply for their driving test. This loophole has allowed 55,000 drivers to extend their learners licences multiple times, without ever completing the driving test.
Many drivers have used this loophole by applying for driving tests before their learner’s permit is up, and not showing up on the day of the test. This has allowed multiple learner drivers to continue to drive on the roads without a full license, putting other road users in danger.
John Walsh from the Irish School of Motoring said:
When you think about it, these people are going around untested, untried in all cases they mightn't be safe and in some cases, they might be very unsafe to drive.
Figures released by the RSA (Road Safety Authority), have shown that 14,342 drivers are driving on their third learners permit, 11,305 on their fourth permit, 9,355 on their fifth, 6,968 on their sixth, 4,965 on their seventh and 2,008 drivers have managed to renew their learners permit a shocking eight times.
The RSA has proposed a new law that will allow Gardaí to seize the cars of drivers who have taken advantage of this loophole, leaving the drivers on the side of the road along with a charge for removal and storage of their vehicle.
This law has been passed by the Dáil and the Seanad and Gardaí have begun preparation for enforcing this new law.
Drivers are being asked to apply and show up for their driving test and not to be afraid of failing. The RSA have also hired 36 drivers in order to help the movement of the 4 month waiting list.