No plans to allow L- drivers on motorways despite approval in UK

RSA says including motorways in test curriculum unfair to those in areas without them

Tim O’Brien

Learner drivers are to be allowed to drive on motorways in the United Kingdom for the first time, but there are no plans to take a similar step in Ireland.

The UK government has said learner drivers will be able to have lessons on motorways with an approved driving instructor in a dual-controlled car.

The UK government believes the change is necessary because inexperienced new drivers are often scared to go on motorways and are instead choosing dangerous back roads and lanes where crash statistics are higher.


But the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said the situation is not the same in Ireland.

The State does has fewer motorways than the United Kingdom, and including motorways in the driver’s curriculum would disadvantage those in Donegal, for example, a spokesman said.

Donegal aside, quite a few counties do not have motorways: Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim, Longford, Mayo, Sligo, and Kerry.

Counties with little access to motorways include Waterford, Roscommon and Offaly.

RSA communications manager Brian Farrell said L-drivers were inexperienced and that it was not a good idea to put them in “a high speed environment while learning to drive”.

He said L-drivers are banned from the motorway network, with no plans to change that”, although the issue would be “kept under review”.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist