Learner drivers face crackdown in Garda blitz

LEARNER drivers who fail to display L-plates or drive unaccompanied on a provisional licence will be among the primary targets of a Garda blitz on driving offences.

Operation Safeguard, a six-day Garda crackdown on motoring offences, swings into action tomorrow.

“The emphasis of this Garda traffic operation is to promote and improve a compliance culture amongst the public, through the comprehensive enforcement of all facets of road traffic legislation,” said a Garda spokesman.

While provisional licence holding drivers will be a primary focus, the initiative will be far-reaching and comprehensive.

The continuing campaign against drink driving will also be included.

The higher collision rate involving young drivers is not solely an Irish phenomenon. Recent European studies found that young males in particular are at greatest risk — 17 to 20-year-old male drivers are almost 10 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured while driving than men aged 40 to 59.

From tomorrow special checkpoints will be put in place throughout the country enforcing road traffic laws in the usual categories like insurance, tax and National Car Test certificates.

Seatbelts, child restraints, tyre tread depth, registration plates and lighting regulations will also be part of the systematic checks.

“The crackdown will also focus on laws banning the use of mobile phones while driving,” said the Garda spokesman.

While Ireland has been ranked among the top-10 best-performing EU countries in terms of road safety, there have been 129 fatalities on our roads so far this year.

Statistics from the Garda National Traffic Bureau up to November last year show that 38 people aged between 16 and 20 died on the roads, and 24 people aged between 21 and 25 were also killed — the age categories with the highest fatality rates.

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Noel Dempsey is considering road safety recommendations contained in a report commissioned by his department into motor insurance premiums for young people.

Among the road safety recommendations in the motor insurance review are limits on engine capacity for learner drivers, restrictions preventing young drivers transporting passengers of the same age, mechanical restrictions on the speed at which a car can travel and the use of in-car tracking and monitoring technology to report on erratic driver behaviour.


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