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Home > Seanad Éireann debate. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017: committee and remaining stages.

[Oireachtas] Seanad Éireann debate. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017: committee and remaining stages. (17 Jul 2018)


Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill: I thank the Minister, Deputy Ross, for being here. This amendment is a short one pertaining to individuals who have learner permits and protecting also the owner of the vehicle where a vehicle is driven by someone other than the owner, who has a learner permit, with the consent of the owner. The Bill would place some individuals at a disadvantage. I refer to students and persons starting out in life either going to university or in a first job. Two cases with which I am very familiar in my own county concern two widows, both of whom lost their husbands recently. They had never driven before and they live in an isolated part of rural Donegal. They require a car to go to church, mass, the post office or the shops. They got a learner permit and are in the process of applying for their full driver's licence. One of the women has already passed her theory test and is waiting for a date for a test but the delays are anything between 12 and 20 weeks.


If the legislation were to pass, both of those individuals could find themselves in a very difficult position, especially if they were to borrow another person's vehicle. Currently, they can drive legally in another person's vehicle, which they have borrowed having obtained consent, if they are driving accompanied. Following the enactment of the Bill the person who owns such a vehicle would also be guilty of an offence. My intention is to try to provide a level of flexibility until such time as the testing process is faster. I appreciate that there are backlogs in the system for people who are waiting for a driving test. It is only natural that there would be backlogs because there are so many people applying, but nonetheless, there is an anomaly which I believe this amendment would address and provide reassurance to people.


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