Transport Minister Shane Ross is in discussions to bring in new legislation to allow gardaí to occupy vehicles that are driven by lone learner drivers. Learner drivers who are alone in the car and are not accompanied by a fully licensed driver will have their vehicle seized if the legislation passes.
As it currently stands, learner drivers can be given a warning or charged for driving alone but can continue their journey alone after they have been charged. Cork farmer Noel Clancy has been campaigning for the change to legislation after the death of his wife Geraldine and daughter Louise who died after a collision with a learner driver.
The Transport Minister spoke during a Dáil discussion and said, "Currently, gardaí have the power to detain vehicles in a number of circumstances such as where the vehicle is untaxed, uninsured or does not have an NCT...An extension of this power to cover vehicles being driven by unaccompanied learners would require an amendment to Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act, 1994."
The news will get a mixed reaction. On one hand, the change would be a welcome sight for many families who have been impacted by life threatening and deadly collisions involving learner drivers. On the other, young drivers already have enough worries with mounting insurance costs and paying for the 12 mandatory lessons.
Is it fair to single out young learner drivers? Should older drivers, who have not completed the mandatory 12 lessons, be regulated just as much as younger drivers?