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New unaccompanied driver laws introduced


I’ve had a few people complain about not being aware of the changes in Irish driving laws in relation Learner and Novice drivers. Well here are the details and both the owners of vehicles driven by these classes of drivers should pay particular attention to the new penalties.

New laws were introduces before Christmas (on 22 December 2018) to strengthen the ‘Graduated Driver Licensing’ (GDL) system in Ireland. Under this system, learner drivers must always be accompanied by a fully qualified driver (not a novice).

While the existing fixed charge and penalty point arrangements continue to apply to learner drivers detected driving unaccompanied, tougher new penalties will also apply to the vehicle owner.

Key points:

  • A vehicle being driven by an unaccompanied learner driver can be detained by Gardaí;
  • The owner of a vehicle who allows an unaccompanied learner or unlicensed driver to drive their vehicle is liable to have their vehicle seized by the Gardaí and could face a fine of up to €1,000;
  • The existing fixed charge and penalty point arrangements also continue to apply;
  • A learner driver detected of driving unaccompanied faces an €80 fine and two penalty points if paid within 28 days, a €120 fine and two penalty points if paid within the next 28 days and €120 and four penalty points if convicted in court.
  • A lower threshold of penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first full driving licence.