The RSA has given an update on the measures outlined in the Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 to enhance the way in which drivers are trained, tested and licensed in Ireland.
The first phase of the modernisation project has been completed and an additional nine actions have been announced. The nine new measures are:
· • All new first time learner permit holders with effect from December 6, 2010 for motorcycles and April 4, 2011 for cars will be required to undertake mandatory initial basic training with an approved driving instructor. The course will be 16 hours for motorcycle and 12 hours for car licences.
· • The role of the supervising driver accompanying learner drivers will be strengthened and it will introduce a requirement for learner drivers to keep a learner log to be signed by their approved driving instructor and their accompanying driver.
· • The drink driving limits for drivers with learner permits and those in their first two years on a full driving licence will be reduced to 20mg/100ml. This legislation has been passed by the Oireachtas and comes into effect this month.
· • The penalty points for specified offences will be increased for learner and novice drivers so that accumulation of penalty points during the learning phase and in the first two years on a full licence will pose a real threat of disqualification.
· • A standard hazard perception test will be developed and carried out during the novice driver phase. The hazard perception test will specifically address risk taking and perception of risk among novice drivers.
· • The current driving test will be modernised to more effectively reflect driver competencies and to influence the learning undertaken by learners. It will introduce a new externally accredited driving test format in the last quarter of 2011.
· • Novice drivers will be required to display an R (restricted ) plate during the first two years of their full driving licence to support the restrictions that are placed on their licence for that duration.
·• The current driver theory test question bank and supporting learning materials will be reconfigured to make it more effective as a learning tool.
· • The RSA will engage with the Department of Justice and Law Reform, the Gardai and the Courts Service to develop the range and combination of sentencing options available to the courts for driving offences for learner and novice drivers.