42 learner drivers involved in fatal road accidents in 5 years
At least 42 learner drivers have been involved in fatal road accidents in the last five years, new figures have revealed.
Statistics released by Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald show that more than 150 unaccompanied learner drivers were involved in fatal or serious road accidents from the beginning of 2012 to November 29, 2016.
During the same period, 112 unlicensed drivers were behind the wheel on their own when they were part of a serious road traffic collision.
The figures were released in response to a parliamentary question by Independent TD Tommy Broughan.
Mr Broughan said there are a number of areas of road safety that can be improved on.
Road Safety Authority figures show there was a 15pc rise in road deaths last year compared to 2015.
Mr Broughan said unaccompanied learner drivers on our roads is one area in particular where action is required.
"The current spotlight on road safety and the need to improve it is very welcome," he said.
"Myself and civil society organisations such as Parc [Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our Roads] have been calling for such focus and prioritisation for some time now.
"There are many areas of the enforcement of our road traffic legislation that must be scrutinised and improved, and the involvement of unaccompanied learner drivers is certainly one of those."
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Shane Ross last night hit out at drivers who have been banned from the roads but continue to drive.
It has been reported that there are almost 8,000 motorists on the country's roads who have disqualifications on their licences but are still driving.
"Those figures this morning are absolutely shocking. What we see here is a lawlessness, which a lot of people are not aware of, that those who are disqualified are simply flouting the law and driving willy nilly," Mr Ross told RTE News.
He has vowed to bring forward legislation to "name and shame" people who have been banned from the road.
"It is not just a token measure because a lot of those who are disqualified are in employment. Some of them are professional drivers, their employers don't know, their spouses don't know. That would mean they are outed and they won't be able to do it nearly so easily," Mr Ross said.