New 'boy racer' safety course to be extended
TRANSPORT Minister Pascal Donohoe is looking at proposals to extend a safer driving course after a pilot scheme was deemed a success.
Young motorists sent by a judge on the Pro-Social Driving Course in Co Donegal have had a re-offending rate of less than one percent. The current rate in the rest of the country is 30pc.
Meath man Gary Doggett, who has helped pilot the project with gardai, the probation service and District Court Judge Paul Kelly, has put proposals to the minister to extend the scheme to six more counties including Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim, Sligo, Longford and Roscommon.
Judge Kelly has sent 104 motorists on the four-day education programme since 2012. Just one motorist has appeared back in court on similar charges.
Sentences for offences are then later reduced or withdrawn altogether for first time offenders.
Motorists who have served part of a road ban sentence have also been given the option to go on the course in order to get their driving licenses back early.
Offenders don't actually do any driving during the four-day course, but do talk sessions with victims of car crimes.
"They meet people who have lost loved ones and get to hear the first-hand consequences of dangerous driving," said Gary.
"They also get to meet members of the fire service who talk of the trauma of dealing with the affects of a fatal road crash."
The Traffic Inspector for the Donegal gardai Michael Harrison said: "In my opinion this course is saving lives and should be rolled out nationally."