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Ray is driven round the bend as he fails his test for the 12th time

A VETERAN motorist who has failed his driving test for the 12th time has slated Ireland's testing regime as unfair.

RAY Heffernan (63) failed his 12th driving test in eight years after arriving back at the Cork test centre with a total of 26 faults.

The retired plastered said he is now considering court action over his latest failure -- and said he believes he has never driven better than in yesterday's test.

"I didn't just give it 100pc -- I gave it 120pc. I have never driven better in my life and yet they still failed me," Ray told the Herald. Because of Ray's repeated failures, he was assigned a regional supervisor for yesterday's test. While he didn't score any grade three faults -- the most serious kind -- he scored 14 grade two faults and 12 grade one faults.

Nine grade two faults -- in any combination -- are sufficient to fail a test.

However, Ray would also have failed on the basis he had four grade two faults under a single heading -- for 'observation/moving off'.



lunatics

"It is soul destroying -- I know I am a good driver. I am a very safe driver. I'm a lot better driver than some of the lunatics that are driving around the roads with full licences," he said.

Ray -- who lives in Mayfield in Cork -- admitted he has found it "very hurtful" to be described as Ireland's worst driver by some elements of the media. In 45 years of driving, he has never caused or been involved in an accident.

He has driven more than a dozen types of car -- and even drove throughout England and Scotland during several years working abroad in the 1970s.

"I'm driving a Nissan Almera now, but I've driven a Mazda, a Ford Cortina Mk II, a Ford Prefect, a Morris Minor, a Ford Anglia and an Austin.

"I've been driving for years without a problem including all over London, Birmingham and Glasgow," he said.

"If you can drive in London you can drive anywhere," he added. Ray said he simply cannot understand how successive testers rate his driving so poorly -- when his friends, journalists and even a TD has gone for spins in his car and found little fault with his driving.

"None of them told me I was bad driver. I had one journalist out with me and he said I was a better driver than he was," he said.

Ray has now failed a total of 12 driving tests since 2004 -- his last failure prior to yesterday was on November 10.

He claimed the system is unfair because it doesn't offer an accurate picture of how safe and reliable a driver he is.

On one occasion, Ray was given 45 error marks -- over five times the number required to fail. "If I was that bad a driver there is no way I should still be alive. It is all wrong," he said.

hnews@herald.ie