Gardaí seeking powers to seize learner driver cars if the learner is caught driving unaccompanied

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Gardaí seek powers to seize cars from unaccompanied learner drivers

An inquest into the death of a Mother and daughter who drowned after their car was hit by a car which was driven by an unaccompanied learner driver has heard that Gardaí are seeking powers to seize cars from these drivers.

The jury at the inquest made the recommendation after hearing how Geraldine Clancy (58) and her daughter Louise (22) died after their vehicle was struck by a car driven by their neighbour and learner driver on December 22nd, 2015.

The convicted learner driver pleaded guilty last November to dangerous driving causing the deaths and was given a three-year suspended sentence and banned from driving for 15 years.

This situation highlights the danger of unaccompanied and inexperienced learner drivers on our roads who could so very easily destroy many people's lives with their negligence. Hence the call by the Gardaí to seize cars from these reckless unlicensed drivers.

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross is being called on to amend the law that states that learner drivers should be accompanied by a fully-qualified driver at all times.

The inquest heard from the accused driver that she was not speeding but admitted that she was driving too fast as she approached a junction and did not adhere to a yield sign.

Evidence at the inquest said she pulled out from the junction in second or third gear as she was taking a turn left towards Ballyduff but she misjudged the junction.

The learner driver went over to the wrong side of the road and collided with Ms Clancy’s car.

“It all happened in a split second. My initial thought was that it was not a strong impact and I did not fear for my life or the people in the [other] car,” said Ms Gleeson.

The court heard how the other car went through a gap in a stone wall and flipped upside down on a field where the car was wedged upside down between the road and the bank of a flooded drain. Rescuers were unable to open the car doors and the women drowned.

The accused agreed with the court evidence that it was possible the accident could have been avoided if she had been accompanied by a qualified driver.

The advice to all learner drivers out there is to never to drive alone. “ I wish I could turn back the clock and this never happened,” she said.



Justin Kavanagh
Justin Kavanagh is a recognised leader in automotive intelligence and vehicle data supply to the entire motor industry. He has almost 20 years experience in building systems from the ground up. As the Managing Director of Vehicle Management System, he understands the need and importance of trustworthy and reliable vehicle history and advice to both the trade and the public.
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