Essential driver training now compulsory

Starting this week, learner drivers must take compulsory lessons as part of a new licensing system.

The new Essential Driver Training programme has been introduced since Monday, and is one of a range of measures announced by the Road Safety Authority last September. It forms part of a new Graduated Driver Licensing system aimed to enhance the way drivers are trained, tested and licensed in Ireland.

Persons obtaining a first learner permit with a start date on or after April 4 must complete a minimum 12 hours of Essential Driver Training with an RSA registered approved driving instructor before they can sit their driving test. Typically the 12 EDT lessons will be spread over six months and supported by practice and tuition as required.

Transport minister Leo Varadkar said the introduction of EDT was probably the “most significant development to the way we train our learner drivers since the introduction of the driving test in 1964”.

“One of the key measures in the Government’s Road Safety Strategy 2007 to 2012 to tackle death and injury on our roads is the introduction of a Graduated Driving Licensing system and EDT forms a core part of this life saving initiative.

“The EDT programme is designed to protect inexperienced learner drivers while they are learning to drive and to support them as they develop the skills, confidence and appropriate behaviour to share the road safely with others.”

Noel Brett, CEO of the Road Safety Authority, said: “The programme consists of 12 one hour lessons that are linked to 12 specific high risk road safety issues and will start the learner driver off on the road to becoming a better, safer driver. The 12 lessons on their own will not be sufficient to become a safe driver. Applying the feedback of your instructor, getting practice, and studying the recommended reading are all vital. Learners may also wish to discuss the need for additional driving lessons with their ADI – but this is something that should be agreed by both parties.”

Cathy Bacon, chairperson of the Irish Driving Instructors Association, welcomes all programmes intended to reduce death and injury on our roads. “The programme will need to be tried and tested and the IDIA are pleased there is a commitment by the RSA to a review of it in 18 months’ time.”


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