Safety for Learner Permit Holders

How learner drivers can ensure their driving experience is a safe and enjoyable one

Safety for Learner Permit Holders

To ensure your safety and that of other road users, learner drivers are bound by certain laws.

Driving alone:

You can’t be alone in the vehicle when driving, regardless of how long you have been driving and how many learner permits you have held. Your accompanying driver must hold a full driving licence for the category of vehicle you are driving for a continuous period of at least 2 years.

The only exceptions to this are when you are:

  • Driving a works vehicle (eg, agricultural tractor or JCB), unless it has been adapted to carry a passenger, and the passenger holds a full driving licence for that category for a continuous period of at least 2 years. 
  • Riding a motorcycle, if you obtained your first learner permit on or after the 6 December 2010 you must carry a Certification of Satisfactory Completion with your permit in order to drive .

Accompanying other learners:

You may not act as an accompanying driver i.e. holder of a full licence, for a person driving on a learner permit. The Certificate of Competency you receive on passing your driving test does not qualify – you must hold a full licence for a continuous period of at least 2 years to be an accompanying driver.

‘L’ plates:

 Your vehicle must display an ‘L’ plate front and rear. The plate should consist of a red ‘L’ on a white background.

Motorways:

You are not permitted to drive on motorways even if you possess a certificate of competence.

Trailers:

If you hold a learner permit to drive vehicles of categories B, C1, C, D1 or D you must not drive the vehicle when drawing a trailer.

Passengers:

You are not permitted to carry passengers  for payment or reward.

Vehicle safety

Safe driving alone does not ensure road safety. The vehicle you are driving must also be fit to be on the road. In fact, it is a serious offence to drive an unsafe vehicle on a public road.

Laws exist to enforce vehicle standards. One of the most important of these is that your car, if more than four years old, must undergo a regular health-check called a National Car Test (NCT).

As a driver, it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle is in good working order. You must ensure that the steering, brakes, front and rear lights, reflectors, rear view mirrors, safety belts, speedometer, tyres, windscreen wipers, horn and silencer are all checked regularly to ensure they are in good condition and working properly.

Other requirements

Not all of the following are legal requirements but they are all important to adhere to:

Children in motor vehicles

You must not leave young children on their own in a motor vehicle, even if you are away for a short time. The children may face a number of hazards, such as:

  • A fire breaking out
  • Dehydration and heatstroke on a warm day (if all windows are closed)
  • Being trapped in electric windows, which could result in serious injury or death

Animals in motor vehicles

You should never leave animals alone in vehicles. It is cruel and unsafe and can result in injury to the animal and/or damage to your vehicle.

Using a mobile phone

You must not drive a vehicle or ride a motorbike while using a handheld mobile phone. It is an offence that can result in your receiving up to five penalty points.

Cyclists should never use a mobile phone when cycling; pedestrians should be careful when using one.

Other mobile devices

Personal radios and MP3 players can be distracting and cause you to lose concentration while driving or crossing the road. Cyclists in particular should avoid these devices, as they, more than most, rely on their hearing while on the road.

Driver Distraction

Care should always be taken when operating satellite navigation devices and dash mounted cameras.  The operation of these devices while driving can cause driver distraction with potentially fatal consequences. Distracted driving could be a factor in as many 20-30% of all collisions in this country. This means that driver distraction could be a contributory factor in over 1,400 fatal and injury collisions annually. A split second is all it takes.

 

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