Wednesday, 27 January 2021
Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport
129. To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will consider granting an amnesty to those learner drivers who have completed the 12 lessons and are ready to do the test but cannot do so due to the backlog; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3925/21]
I have no plans to amend the requirements on learner drivers or the driving test itself; we must continue to expect a high standard of our learner drivers before they can be allowed to take to the road as fully licensed drivers.
The last year that an amnesty for learner drivers was granted, 1979, there were 614 deaths on our roads with much smaller volumes of traffic, compared with a provisional number of 148 in 2020.
Under EU law, a person must pass a driving test to uniform EU standards before being granted a licence.
I would also like to point out that the learner drivers who present for test have undergone the required lessons and training, and presumably been assured by their driving instructors that they will pass, achieved a national pass rate of 52% in 2019, so a candidate who has fulfilled the training requirements is not automatically safe to drive on our roads.
The safety of the public, whether through contracting Covid or through deaths or injuries on our roads, must be of paramount importance. For this reason, we must not relax the standards required of our drivers before being awarded a driving licence.