Tuesday, 2 February 2016
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
582. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the reason an Irish emigrant (details supplied) with 17 years driving experience and a full clean licence from the US, has to resit a driving test here, and incur the expenses associated with securing an Irish driving licence; if Irish persons in these circumstances can be accommodated in a better way; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4166/16]
Irish driver licensing law operates within a framework of EU law. On this basis we have mutual recognition of driving licences with all other EU Member States. In the case of non-EU States, we can reach bilateral arrangements on exchange of licences. This is not a straightforward matter. It involves the licensing authorities in both jurisdictions comparing the two licensing regimes, so that both can be satisfied that the two are compatible. From the Irish side, this task is undertaken by the Road Safety Authority.
I am aware that some people have found themselves in the situation to which the Deputy refers. However, it has not been possible to reach agreement on mutual recognition of driving licences with the United States, given that US driver licensing operates at State rather than Federal level. This means that there are 50 different licensing regimes involved.
It is important to remember that the reason for having a driver licensing regime is public safety - we need to have a verifiable standard for people to meet in order to drive on our roads. In the case of other EU Member States, we know that licence-holders have been tested to the same standards which apply here.