The RSA’sRoad Safety Authority new driver training rules in Ireland came into force on April 4th 2011, and they revolutionised the way driver training works in Ireland. Here’s a quick guide to how those changes will affect you.
Why the Driver Training Rules have Changed
The RSA wants to make sure that you become a thoroughly trained safe and responsible driver; that’s why you need to take lessons with a professional instructor, and it’s why the whole process is so much more regulated than it used to be. The changes apply to anyone whose first learner driver permit was issued on or after April 4th 2011. (To find out how to check the date of your permit, see the RSA’s guide.)
A Minimum of 12 Lessons
Under the new rules, you’ll have to complete an Essential Driver Training course (EDT). This means you’ll need to take a series of 12 hour-long driving lessons with an Approved Driving Instructor. Here at the Bantry Driving Academy, those lessons will take place in a dual control car and you’ll be able to build up your practical skills and knowledge on our practice track before you progress to driving, accompanied by one of our instructors, on the public roads.
Experience Makes You a Better Driver
We’ll advise you if you need a few more lessons to help you prepare for your test: the 12 lessons represent a minimum requirement and you need to make sure that you continue with your training until you’re really ready to drive on your own. The RSA doesn’t want anyone to rush into their test without high-quality experience; that’s why you aren’t permitted to take your test in the first six months after your learner driver permit has been issued.
Throughout your training, you’ll be building up the levels of skill, knowledge and experience that will stand to you in the years ahead and that’s vital because high-quality driving experience is the key to making you a better driver for life.
When you sign up for lessons here, we’ll give you a copy of the official logbook you’ll need to keep track of your progress. After each lesson, we’ll stamp the logbook to prove that you’ve taken your lesson and we’ll also provide some notes about how you’re getting on: they’ll help you to monitor your progress and they’ll also make clear the key objectives for your next lesson. The whole logbook process helps to ensure that your training is tailored to your individual needs. (You can see a sample copy of the book itself here.)
There’s also space in the logbook for you and your sponsor to comment on how you’re getting on. The sponsor’s role is another new feature of driver training introduced under the new rules. Every learner driver will be required to nominate an experienced driver to act as a mentor throughout the training process. Your sponsor can be a parent or a trusted friend and they’ll be there to support you by offering their time, advice and encouragement while you’re taking lessons and when you’re practising too.
The sponsor has an important role in helping to bridge the gap between your lessons and the driving you’ll do after you’ve passed your test. Your conversations with your sponsor about driving should carry on during those critical early years of driving on your own. They’ll help to make sure that you stay in the habit of reflecting on, and striving to improve, your driving skills. (Your sponsor must have held a driving licence for a minimum of two years and should also have substantial driving experience.)
The new measures are only the start. The RSA’s Graduated Driver Licensing system will involve further changes in the rules for learners and new drivers over the next few years and we’ll keep you updated here!
If you have any questions at all about the new regulations or how they’ll affect you, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be delighted to help.