Unaccompanied learner drivers received 2,656 notices last year

In 2018, learners received 448 notices to appear in court for not paying €80 fine

Learner drivers face six months disqualification if they incur a total of seven penalty points within a two-year period. Photograph: iStock

Learner drivers face six months disqualification if they incur a total of seven penalty points within a two-year period. Photograph: iStock

 

Learner drivers received 448 notices to appear in court in 2018 for driving unaccompanied without a qualified driver, figures show.

Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act from the Department of Transport show a total of 2,656 notices were issued to learner drivers for driving unaccompanied during 2018 — a new penalty point offence which was introduced in December 2014.

The offence incurs two penalty points and a €80 fine if paid within 28 days. If challenged, the offender can obtain four penalty points upon conviction.

Learner drivers face six months disqualification if they incur a total of seven penalty points within a two-year period. The threshold is 12 points for full-licence holders.

Figures show 2,208 notices were sent to learner drivers who paid the fine within the notice period and received two penalty points.

In total, 448 notices were sent to learner drivers to appear in court for not paying the fine and they had four points applied to their licences.

A department spokesman said the number of notices issued is a count of all the notices issued in 2018 for this offence and not a count of the drivers who received these notices – some drivers may have received more than one notice.

Since December 22nd, it is an offence for the owner of a vehicle to knowingly allow an unaccompanied learner or an unlicensed person to drive his or her vehicle.

The provisions also extend the power of detention under section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 to allow the Garda Síochána to detain a vehicle being driven, in the Garda’s opinion, by an unaccompanied learner.

The amendment is named after the Clancy family, who lost two members in a crash involving an unaccompanied learner three years ago.