Td’s anger at plan to fine learn­ers driv­ing alone

Irish Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY EMMA MCMENAMY

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

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