Ten-month extension granted for validity of learner permits

Government announces move in response to Covid-related delays in driving tests

A further 10-month extension to the validity of drivers’ learner permits due to expire amid pandemic-related delays has been approved by the Government.

The extension is in response to significant delays in driving tests due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to Covid restrictions on services delivered by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), many learner permit holders could not avail of driving lessons, sit the driving test or renew their permit during the pandemic.

The extension was announced by Minister of State for Road Transport Hildegarde Naughton on Thursday.

Ms Naughton said providing a further 10-month extension to the expiry date of learner permits would “allow for peace of mind to many learner drivers as they continue to work towards passing their driving test in the months ahead”.

Those who will benefit from this extension don’t need to take any action as the RSA systems will update records automatically.

A new learner permit with the new expiry date will not be issued to drivers, but the electronic driver record will be updated to reflect the new expiry date.

Thursday’s announcement means that a person whose learner permit expired on March 10th, 2020, will, when this latest extension is combined with a previous extension for such permit holders of eight months, have the life of this permit extended to September 10th, 2021, while a person whose permit expired on August 15th, 2020, will have a new expiry date of October 15th, 2021, as they now get a 14-month extension in total.

The RSA has also told Insurance Ireland and An Garda Síochána about the new expiry dates of learner permits.

If you have already renewed your permit, and it had an expiry date between March 1st, 2020, and July 31st, 2021, the new arrangements will not apply.

According to the new arrangements:

– Permits that expired between March 1st and June 30th, 2020, that were previously extended by eight months will now be extended by a further 10 months, so by 18 months in total;

– Permits that expired between July 1st to October 31st, 2020, that were previously extended by four months will now be extended by a further 10 months, so by 14 months in total, and

– Permits that expired or will expire between November 1st, 2020, and July 31st, 2021, will be extended for 10 months.

Drivers who believe they are affected by the extension are encouraged to check the new expiry date of their learner permit by using the expiry date calculator on www.ndls.ie. Enter the expiry date printed on your learner permit into the calculator and it will tell you the new expiry date.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist