NEW LAWS WILL BE HELLLLL FOR RURAL IRELAND
Td’s anger at plan to fine learners driving alone
PLANS to fine learner drivers could “ruin the lives of people living in rural Ireland”, it has been claimed.
The proposed laws will see motorists who allow their vehicles to be used by unaccompanied L-plate drivers facing a €2,000 penalty and a six-month prison sentence.
Yesterday Independent TD Mattie Mcgrath urged Transport Minister Shane Ross to ditch the plans.
He made the call after the Cabinet agreed to amend the
Road Traffic Act to allow for increased fines and confiscation of farm and commercial vehicles.
Under existing rules, a motorist with a learner’s permit driving alone can be prosecuted for putting other people at risk. Mr Mcgrath said: “This proposal is utterly disproportionate and will generate massive amounts of resentment in rural Ireland in particular.
“If Mr Ross is seriously suggesting a new regime whereby critical farmyard vehicles can be confiscated and the farmer can be jailed then he has truly gone off the deep end in terms of a detachment from rural life. “How does the minister intend to put this bizarre proposal into practice?
“It is completely unworkable and has the potential to ruin farm and working families that are barely surviving. For many rural TDS this smacks of yet another hair-brained Cabinet initiative that reflects the rural/urban divide at the heart of Government.
“I am proposing we find a more proportionate and effective response to the critical and important issue of road safety that does not involve the excessive penalisation of one distinct element of the community.”
Road Safety Authority and Garda figures showed over 10,600 fixed penalty point notices were issued to unaccompanied drivers in 2017.
The recent clampdown by Mr Ross comes after RSA numbers showed of the 12 fatal road crashes involving learner drivers last year, 10 involved unaccompanied learner drivers.
The reforms have been dubbed the “Clancy Amendment” after campaigner Noel Clancy whose wife and daughter were killed in 2015 by an unaccompanied learner driver.
CONCERN Independent TD Mattie Mcgrath