Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

Driver Licences

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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495. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will address a matter (details supplied) raised in correspondence regarding the driving licence system. [47247/14]

Photo of Paschal DonohoePaschal Donohoe (Dublin Central, Fine Gael)
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The position regarding people returning or coming to live in Ireland with US driving licences is one of which I am well aware, and which has arisen a number of times.

The starting point is that the purpose of a driver licensing system is to ensure basic standards of driving on our roads. Ireland operates within a framework of EU driver licensing law, and on this basis we recognise other EU driving licences for the purposes of mutual exchange, as all EU licences are issued according to the same standards.

In addition, we have bilateral agreements with a number of non-EU states, where detailed study has shown that their licensing regimes and ours are compatible.

We do not have such an agreement with the USA. This is because American driver licensing operates at State level, with widely varying systems and standards of licensing. Even if we were to recognise licences from some States, it could draw us into extremely complicated difficulties over the mutual recognition arrangements which those States would have with other American States.

As a result, regrettably, people moving here with a US licence may drive only for a period up to a year on a visitor basis, but must then acquire an Irish licence. While they are required to undertake a theory test, mandatory lessons and driving test, they are not bound by the usual rule to be a learner for six months before taking the driving test.


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