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15th Feb 2018

Parents who let learners behind the wheel could face €2,000 fine or prison time

Jade Hayden

Motorists who let learner drivers behind the wheel of their car unaccompanied could face a considerable fine or prison time.

A new proposed law states that car owners could be fined €2,000 or face up to six months in prison for allowing learner drivers to drive their vehicle on their own.

Under current Irish law, allowing a learner driver to drive unaccompanied could result in a €1,000 fine for the learner.

There is no current fine for the motorist with the full licence.

The Road Traffic Amendment would also allow Gardaí to seize motors, including commercial and farmyard vehicles.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath is calling on Minister for Transport Shane Ross to reassess the proposed measures.

He told the cabinet that the law is “disproportionate” and claimed that it would affect rural areas particularly badly.

He said:

“How does the Minister intend to put this bizarre proposal into practice? It is completely unworkable and has the potential to ruin farm and working families that are barely surviving as it is.

“Telling farmers that they can potentially be jailed or that they will have their machinery seized for allowing a son or daughter to drive a tractor across the yard is incredible nonsense.”

The amendment was proposed following a road accident that killed two people in 2015.

A mother and her daughter suffered fatal injuries in Cork after a collision with an unaccompanied learner driver.

The Road Traffic Amendment will go to the committee stage in the Oireachtas over the next few weeks.