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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.