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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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Cabinet approves changes to make it illegal to let unaccompanied learners drive your car

Gardaí will also be allowed seize a vehicle if a learner driver is discovered to be driving without a qualified driver present.

Image: David Jones

CAR OWNERS WHO allow unaccompanied learner drivers to use their vehicles could face prosecution for the first time under new measures approved by Cabinet today.

In addition, ministers also approved proposals which will allow gardaí seize a vehicle if a learner driver is discovered to be driving without a qualified driver present.

The amendments – dubbed the ‘Clancy amendment’ - come within one month in which a man who lost his wife and daughter in a horrific accident involving a learner driver launched a scathing attack on Transport Minister Shane Ross for failure to fully implement promised law reforms.

The car Noel Clancy’s wife was driving was struck by that of learner driver Susan Gleeson in December 2015.

His wife, Geraldine Clancy and his daughter Louise were tragically killed.

Since their deaths, he has been campaigning for a change in the law that would make the car owner and driver equally accountable in the law.

This is not the only case. Last year, an unaccompanied driver who was speeding when he hit and killed a teenager was jailed for nine months.

22-year-old Gareth Jones swerved to avoid three of the boy’s friends as they crossed the road but hit Paul McCormack, 16, who had changed direction to try to get back to the path.

Ross had committed to the new legislation last year, but it’s understood it ran into legal difficulties.

The minister said last year that the change in the law was needed.

He explained that currently gardaí have the power to detain vehicles in a number of circumstances such as where the vehicle is untaxed, uninsured or does not have an NCT.

“An extension of this power to cover vehicles being driven by unaccompanied learners would require an amendment to Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act, 1994.”

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