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Over 150 unaccompanied learner drivers involved in serious or fatal collisions in last five years

Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority is looking into establishing a public database of disqualified drivers.

l Source: PA Archive/PA Images

MORE THAN 150 unaccompanied learner drivers have been involved in serious or fatal collisions in the last five years.

The figures were released by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in reply to parliamentary questions asked by Independents 4 Change TD Tommy Broughan.

They show that, between 2012 and 29 November 2016, 42 unaccompanied learner drivers were involved in fatal road traffic collisions. During the same period, 112 unaccompanied learner drivers were involved in serious road traffic collisions.

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Broughan asked the questions on behalf of PARC civil society group as part of the work it has been doing to support families bereaved by road traffic accidents caused by unaccompanied learner drivers.

Speaking about the figures, he said: “There are many areas of the enforcement of our road traffic legislation that must be scrutinised and improved and the involvement of unaccompanied learner drivers is certainly one such area.”

Disqualified driver database

Meanwhile, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has said that, as of August 2016 (the latest figures available), over 7,650 drivers had multiple concurrent disqualifications on their licences, indicating they continued to drive while disqualified.

In a statement, the RSA said: “A high percentage of drivers convicted by the courts continue to drive with impunity, ignoring their driving ban. Garda enforcement is only part of the solution, personal responsibility is key.

“The current penalties are inadequate in deterring some drivers from engaging in killer behaviours such as drink and drug driving.

Statistically, drivers who have been convicted and disqualified are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal and serious crashes.

The RSA is looking into establishing a public database of disqualified drivers. The body said there is no specific timeframe for this to be completed.

“Publication of offenders will help to discourage drivers from driving while disqualified, leading to an improvement in road safety generally but specifically result in a reduced number of deaths and serious injuries.,” the RSA said.

The authority added that opinion polls show “a high level of public support is evident for the proposal”.

Read: Shane Ross considering ‘naming and shaming’ drink drivers like tax defaulters

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Órla Ryan

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