People who spend years driving on a learner permit are often too scared to go back and do their test, according to one of Ireland’s leading driving instructors.
Earlier today, Newstalk revealed that nearly 1,400 people in Ireland have been driving on a learner permit for longer than 26 years.
Figures released under Freedom of Information reveal that there are nearly 232,000 learner drivers on Irish roads.
Over 21,000 drivers have had a learner permit for at least 11 years and 1,365 have had one for over 26 years.
On The Hard Shoulder this evening, Kathleen Comerford, driving instructor and author of ‘Pass Your Driving Test in Ireland – A Handbook for Success’ said she was not surprised by the figures.
“I have been doing this for 20 years and I have experienced people with fears of failure,” she said.
“One guy was a major CEO executive who had failed 40 years earlier and just could not bear the thought of going back and doing the test again.
“So, there are very legitimate cases and I would just love some more support systems to be put in place by the RSA to help these people to actually just get through the system.
“Sometimes it might be something as simple as tough love in that you have to do it. Not that you just have to apply and pay for the test but actually you have to turn up and do it which you don’t at the moment.”
Under current rules, you can’t apply for a third or subsequent learner permit unless you’ve recently done a driving test or have applied for an upcoming test.
Ms Comerford said the RSA needs to ask why people are still permitted to drive long-term without passing a test.
“Why is that allowed?” she asked. “And what supports and what aids could be put in place to help these people pass the driving test?
“Sometimes they think they are not good enough and clarity can just be a great way of eliminating nerves. So, if you know what to do and when to do it and then you look at a video and go, actually I am doing that, that could encourage somebody.
“I know the RSA has encouraged people to come forward but sometimes you need to know that actually, you are good enough to come forward and do an exam. There are lots of fears around the exams, ask any of the Leaving Certs at the moment.”
You must always have a fully qualified driver with you if you have a learner permit.
2,475 drivers got penalty points last year for breaking that law - up 27% on 2019.
A further 1,581 drivers were penalised in the first five months of this year.