herald

Sunday 25 August 2019

Lone learner drivers have seven vehicles a day seized by gardai

Minister Charlie Flanagan
Minister Charlie Flanagan

Seven learner drivers a day are having cars seized from them after being caught driving unaccompanied.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said that in the three months after the new Clancy Amendment came into effect, more than 700 vehicles had been seized nationwide - an average of seven a day.

The high rate has been hailed by road safety group Parc as proof of the scale of the problem of learner drivers flouting licensing rules.

Mr Flanagan revealed the figures for December 22 to March 29 in reply to a parliamentary question from Tommy Broughan TD.

It is understood the seizure rate was highest over Christmas and the new year.

The minister was unable to give a breakdown of seizure totals by garda division because of the way statistics are compiled.

Parc founder Susan Gray raised concerns about how such statistics are recorded.

She warned that the IT Pulse system used by gardai has not been updated to record when a vehicle is seized from an un- accompanied learner.

"These updates to the Pulse system are essential for statis- tical reasons and to allow for an ongoing analysis of the figures on a geographic basis,"she said.

A time frame for implementation of IT updates to the Pulse system has not yet been agreed.

The Herald revealed last week that only one in 10 Irish drivers with court disqualifications surrendered their licences to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

Parc has warned that much more still needs to be done to ensure road rules are enforced.

The Clancy Amendment, which allows for the seizure of vehicles from unaccompanied learner drivers, was introduced following a Parc campaign after the tragic death of a mother and daughter in north Cork.

Farmer Noel Clancy lost wife Geraldine (58) and daughter Louise (22) in a December 2015 collision that involved an unaccompanied learner.

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