Tuesday, 19 January 2016
Road Traffic Bill 2016: Second Stage
I welcome the Minister and commend him on the legislation. It is not before time that we start to drug test drivers, given that drug driving is rife. I hope it will be random drug testing, not just based on driver behaviour. It might even take some of our politicians off the road. I also welcome the reduction in the speed limits in certain housing estates, particularly where children are at play. While most people are responsible on the road, it takes only one impetuous driver to cause an accident.
The Minister mentioned cyclists. I have often meant to raise the issue of cyclists in Dublin. The city is wholly unsuitable for cyclists. They are a danger to themselves and traffic. While driving down a road with three or four lanes, one is conscious of what is in front of one and one has to take corrective action if something goes wrong. If there are cyclists to the right and left, and if one has to make a move, one of them will be in trouble. We do not have enough cycle lanes and cyclists are using the carriageway along with cars. It is a dangerous city in which to be a cyclist.
I will raise an issue I have previously raised with the Minister, namely, drivers aged over 70 who forget to renew their provisional licences and must, therefore, go through the driving test. The biggest problem with the driving test for a person in his or her 70s or 80s is the theory test. They do not use computers and do not understand the whole thing. They may have been driving for 40 years and have never managed to apply for a full licence but always renewed the provisional licence. All I ask is that the Minister allow them to get a licence and even allow them to get it for a period after which they must undergo a driving test. The theory test is the problem. I hope the Minister can understand this. I am not asking for a total amnesty, but just the opportunity to do a driving test without having to try to do a theory test which they have no way of doing.