Push to get learner drivers to take test

Push to get learner drivers to take test

Learner drivers could get extra time to complete parts of their driving test and will be encouraged to save hundreds of euro on insurance costs by successfully qualifying for full licences.

Road safety chiefs intend to target L-plate drivers, tens of thousands of whom are still behind the wheel on their fourth or fifth learner driving licences.

Using social media and incentives to get novice motorists into test centres, authorities will launch a fresh campaign later this month.

The most up-to-date figures show there are some 199,816 drivers on two-year learner permits and another 40,243 on one-year learner permits.

More than 13,000 are on their third learner permit while almost 11,000 are on their fourth and another 37,000 are at least on a fifth L-plate licence.

The Road Safety Authority campaign will begin later this month, a spokesman for the agency confirmed. Transport sources familiar with the campaign said it will incentivise young drivers to come into test centres by highlighting major cash savings that can be made by qualifying for full licences.

One example of a learner driver supplied to the Irish Examiner cited a nurse, 45, living in Dublin, with a Ford Focus 1.6 litre engine valued at €6,000 and a five-year no- claims bonus and no penalty points.

Despite her good driving record and low-cost vehicle, the nurse still faces an annual motor insurance bill of some €1,188. This is because she has been on a learner permit for 10 years. However, it is estimated that this bill would be almost halved to €663 if she obtained a full driving licence.

Social media, newspapers, radio, and TV will be used to target long-term L-plate drivers as well as novice motorists. 

One message expected to be delivered as part of the campaign will say that learner drivers will be given extra time to settle into test centres, whether that means arriving earlier or being briefed more by testers on what to expect in their examination for a full licence.

“We want to make them less nervous; it won’t mean extra time during the actual driving test itself but maybe more around being there for it. The idea is to demystify it and de-stress drivers,” said a transport source.

Furthermore, the campaign will highlight how waiting times for tests have now been reduced to just a number of weeks, averaging six weeks.

Learner permits

Number of people on their first learner permit: 124,352

2nd permit: 54,689

3rd: 13,622

4th: 10,727

5th: 8,804

6th: 7,159

7th: 5,088

8th: 3,853

9th: 2,899

10th: 2,134

11th or more: 6,737

Total:240,064

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