Unaccompanied learner drivers at higher risk of road death

Unaccompanied learner drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared with those accompanied by an experienced motorist

Under new legislation, driving unaccompanied and failing to display an L-place will incur two penalty points. Photograph:  Matt Kavanagh

Under new legislation, driving unaccompanied and failing to display an L-place will incur two penalty points. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

 

Unaccompanied learner drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared with those accompanied by an experienced motorist, research from the Road Safety Authority shows.

In the six-year period up until 2012, some 1,141 car or van drivers were involved in fatal crashes. Of these, 99 were learner drivers, just 12 of whom were accompanied by an experienced motorist at the time of the crash.

Over the same period there were 2,442 serious injury collisions, of which 194 involved an unaccompanied learner driver.

Under legislation passed earlier this year, driving unaccompanied and failing to display an L-plate will incur two penalty points; it is expected to come into effect between August and November.

PARC member David Walsh, whose pregnant daughter was killed in a collision in Co Tipperary with an unaccompanied driver in March 2012, said it was a sad indictment of the Government and the gardaí that laws requiring inexperienced drivers to be accompanied were being ignored. “I don’t think the rules are being enforced at the moment, or at least, if they are, there is no fear among the young drivers about being caught.”

Moyagh Murdock, chief executive of the RSA, called on parents to stop turning a blind eye to their children driving unaccompanied. “They are putting their sons’ and daughters’ lives at risk whenever they let them onto the roads unsupervised.”