AMENDMENT PROPOSED TO MAKE OWNERS LIABLE FOR UNACCOMPANIED LEARNER DRIVERS

30 November 2016

Brendan Ryan TD, Labour Party spokesperson for Transport, today proposed an amendment to the Road Traffic Bill 2016 at the Transport Committee. It would make owners liable when their vehicle is used by an unaccompanied learner driver in a road traffic offence.

The amendment is a direct response to the statement of the Clancy family from Cork on the 21 November, following the trial of an unaccompanied learner driver who caused the death of their mother and daughter.

Deputy Ryan said:

“Anyone who read about the tragic case of the Clancy family or heard it on the radio or TV, could not help but be moved by the case.

"At the heart of it, was a tragic accident involving an unaccompanied learner driver. In the eyes of the current law, the driver was committing an offence without an experienced driver being in the car.

"What I proposed in my amendment is that owners of such a vehicle would be guilty of an offence when their car is driven by an unaccomp anied learner driver.

“If we are to make our roads safer and improve driving standards we need to take stricter action on learner drivers.

"There are discussions up and down the country every day in which learners ask, usually their parents, can they take the car out unaccompanied to go to the shops or visit friends.

"Some vehicle owners are strict and others relent. By widening the responsibility for accidents to the owner, it will hopefully give owners further strength to refuse permission for their vehicle to be taken out.

"The aim of this amendment quite simply is to save lives.

"The Minister agreed to revisit my amendment next week in the Dáil where I will push for it to be accepted.”