Provisional licences chaos: What the ‘L’ is going on?

The 5,214 provisional driving licence holders in County Roscommon breathed a sigh of relief recently when Transport Minister Noel Dempsey postponed a plan to ensure that provisional licence holders had to be accompanied by a qualified driver. Key changes which had been proposed included that provisional licence holders had to be accompanied by a qualified driver and people applying for a test had to have been driving on a provisional licence for at least six months. On October 28th, the Minister for Transport, Noel Dempsey announced that he was modifying the lead-in time for holders of second provisional licences to allow them to complete their test by June 30th next. Since Tuesday of last week, October 20th, 2007, all new applicants for driving licences will be issued with a learner permit. The rules applying to a new applicants learner permit will stipulate that: The holder must be accompanied by a driver who has had a full licence for at least two years; The holder must have the permit for a minimum of six months of supervised practice before applying for a test. From 30th June 2008, all provisional licence holders must be accompanied by a fully licensed driver of at least two years’ experience. The Government has committed to providing the necessary finance to the Road Safety Authority to ensure that all 122,000 applicants currently on the waiting list will have been tested by early March 2008. By the end of June 2008 all applicants for a driving test will be able to get a test within 10 weeks.