It's all about the L drivers

2007-10-20_img_7378-hs.jpg It’s all about the learner drivers. Yesterday the Road Safety Authority here in Ireland decided to finally enforce and tighten up the rules regarding drivers on provisional licenses and it caused uproar. I have some sympathy for learner drivers because they were only given 4 days notice. The new regime starts on Tuesday.

While it’s true that learner drivers are in the main more nervous and less experienced than drivers who have passed the driving test, the simple act of passing the test doesn’t suddenly bestow on someone skills and responsible behaviour that remain with the driver throughout their lives. We wouldn’t need the anti-drink driving campaigns or speed cameras if that were true. In Blarney yesterday a woman in a small car crept forward in busy traffic looking out her open window at the street signs with a mobile phone glued to her ear and when she trundled past us I saw a quizzical, worried look on her face as she tried to find where she was going to, completely oblivious of the long tailback behind her.

Four days was way too short however. If you’re going to pull the rug from underneath a large minority of the driving and working public give them adequate warning and improve the training and testing facilities. If everyone handed in fake “my employee needs a car for his job” letters the waiting lists for tests would still be just as long. That’s no way to run a driver testing facility.

It is so easy to say, “You had two years to do the test, why didn’t you do it?” Provisional drivers had it easy unfortunately, there was no stick forcing them to take the test. Now there is. Bloody big stick too. All I hope for are safer roads once the dust settles.

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18 Replies to “It's all about the L drivers”

  1. Donncha, we Irish are a nation of whingers! Give it a couple of weeks and it will all be forgotten.

    Think the ‘No Smoking’ laws furore a few years ago.

    Have all the Pubs closed… NO!

    Have all the smokers stopped smoking…. NO!

    Have the non-smokers stopped drinking… NO!

    Maybe if 50% of those so called ‘Learners’ are off the road the rest of us might be able to move along the M50

  2. So true, it’ll all blow over eventually but they still messed up the implementation. The huge surge in applications for the test reflects our complacency unless there’s a stick to beat us.
    I hope the RSA has built dozens of new test centres and hired teams of testers to deal with the rush.

  3. When I was in Ireland last October, my husband and I were surprised that the learners weren’t allowed on the M roads. The safest roads in the country and you don’t allow learners on them?

    On the other hand, I loved that the pubs were smoke free. Based on my experience in England several decades, I expected to asphyxiate in the pubs, and I am even more sensitive to second hand smoke now. I was thrilled.

  4. ‘All I hope for are safer roads once the dust settles.’

    judging by the stats on road deaths in the RSA’s Strategy document, it’s unlikely. Nowhere in there is “on a provisional licence” listed as a notable causative factor — unless you decide that “young males between 18-34” correlates strongly with “learner drivers” (which I suspect they would have pointed out if it was the case).

    Reading the doc, it appears the changes to the learner permit system were bolted on in passing, since they had a mandate to make changes to the laws anyway and they wanted to do it, regardless of whether it’ll have any effect…

  5. Re: Elaine.

    Motorways are meant to be safe for drivers who wish to maintain steady progress at 80km/hr – 120km/hr for long distances and not have to worry about slow moving hazards on route, such as cyclists, pedestrians and inexperienced drivers. Could you imagine a road full of cars tearing along at 120km/hr, mixed in with learner drivers struggling along at 30km/hr and fumbling with the steering wheel? It just wouldn’t work.

    In any case I don’t see why learners would need or want to be on the motorway. The motorway is for long distance journeys. An L-driver isn’t going to learn much sitting on a motorway for 50 miles. They need to be driving around city streets where the traffic moves slowly and they’re exposed to far more while under the supervision of someone qualified. There are dual carriageways for them to learn merging and lane discipline.

  6. I don’t really see the problem to be honest, the law that is being brought in to try and make things safer for road users. You will always have the people who will drive without a full or provisional licence and those with no insurance and the correct punishments will have to be in place to deal with them when caught.

  7. I was so intent on not being your ‘typical learner’ anyway, that I took an intensive driving course and got off the road and removed the l-plates as quickly as I could.

  8. Most Learner Drivers are completely unaware of what is facing them and what is facing them today in 2008 is very different to the situation of thirty or even twenty years ago.

  9. most of the learners drivers are safe drivers, some dont have someone to sit with them all day every day, they need their car just to go to shop and do their work, ot pick up the children from school. please allow them to drive freely, but dont allow them to leave the county they live in till they pass their test. please have pity on the L drivers that need to drive we are not the ones that cause the craches on the road. PLEASE THINK OF US THAT NEED THE CAR AND SRE SAFE.

  10. That’s such a stupid way to implement a new law. If things have been done wrong for ages, I agree it is more than time to change it. However, changes imply in how exactly and fairly do it. It is not fair with someone already holding an L license to be stopped and arrested. This should be for the new L-drivers from the day the law starts. In this way, this country would be giving an example of democracy and intelligence in legislation and all the so-called “previous L-drivers” would have time to pass in the tests (everybody has to agree that the system is crap and not efficient at all). So if the law has to be changed, let’s change it adequately!

  11. Is not fair what is happening,the L drivers should have been notified earlier about these new regulations
    and is not true that L drivers are causing accidents,I have seen people with 20 years experience driving far worst than L drivers,this new law is not fair

  12. i totally agree that there is far more full licence drivers out there i dont c why we should have to suffer

  13. grannymar, you cannot compare the smoking ban to this… you dont need a license to drink and smoke in a pub… you just cant do it! now if they sed smokers arent aloud into a pub without a non smoker… then you’d have a point

  14. I agree with the above.. The COUNTRY has gone to the dog’s.. My husband is out of a job from the building line, I have to kid’s with a high mortage, I’am on learner’s permit and I have to support the family with work, but now I Can’t get to work, I have to phone on sick tomorrow.. My husband also is learner and I live just outside the city.. I think the government should be SHOT

  15. Hi jsut said I’d write to say that I think the whole country is F**KED between job’s, that RULE for learner’s is F**kED-UP! Its bad enough people are struggling to get jobs now, but that rule stop’s learner driver’s from getting to work! Then Mortage’s are rocket high as well with price’s of oil, petrol, and food! and now all the foreigner’s who came here to ROB our job’s are leaving. The WHOLE country is F**KED, I hope that useless FAT money ROBBING STUPID IRISH GOVERNMENT MIGHT

  16. Motorways are meant to be safe for drivers who wish to maintain steady progress at 80km/hr – 120km/hr for long distances and not have to worry about slow moving hazards on route, such as cyclists, pedestrians and inexperienced drivers. Could you imagine a road full of cars tearing along at 120km/hr, mixed in with learner drivers struggling along at 30km/hr and fumbling with the steering wheel? It just wouldn’t work.

    In any case I don’t see why learners would need or want to be on the motorway. The motorway is for long distance journeys. An L-driver isn’t going to learn much sitting on a motorway for 50 miles. They need to be driving around city streets where the traffic moves slowly and they’re exposed to far more while under the supervision of someone qualified. There are dual carriageways for them to learn merging and lane discipline.
    …..YOU’RE AN IDIOT WHO DOESN’T DESERVE TO VOICE AN OPINION!!! Well base on that fantasy you wrote above anyway. What a load of crap! What L-driver hobbles along at 30km per hour do you know? I’m an L-driver only driving a year and I’m a fantastic competent law abiding driver. My issues on the roads are mostly with people who take advantage because they hold full lisences, taxis and of course people who are far too old to drive and in doing so are extremely dangerous! I have been waiting six months to sit my bloody test and unfortunately got a tester renowned for failing everybody and now I have to wait another 6 months it looks like, instead of the supposed 7 weeks that they are clearly lying about on the news.

    The whole situation is just very typical of our government who have managed to date to fuck up Ireland in every way possible!

  17. I have had a L permit for 4 years and i have only been called for my test once, when i arrived at the test centre i was told that the test had to be cencelled because the driving in stucture was sick! I really think that it is unfair that i have to drive illegally becuse of the back log!!! I will keep driving illegally because i need my car to take my 4 children to and from school which is 6 miles from my house

  18. Ireland is, to the best of my knowledge, the only country in the civilized world to have recently allowed its citizens to drive a car (or large van, for that matter) on public roads with no requirement for tuition in the rules of the road, or to provide proff of competancy of any kind. To view this as anything other than lunacy is incredible to me. Those without licences who complain at the new rules regarding learner drivers need to get a grip; millions of people all over the world manage to live their lives within the rules relating to learner drivers. The police need to come down hard on those breaking the rules and driving solo with no licence. Death on the roads.

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