South Meath Driving School

Making Irish Roads Safer

We use a 1.4 litre Toyota Yaris.

    Dual control means the tutor has a clutch and brake pedal on the passenger side for demonstration or emergency purposes.
    This car is very easy to drive and allows good vision in all directions.
    Diesel engine and manual gears.
    Seats are adjustable to suit small or tall people. Wing mirrors electronically adjustable
    Perfect for learning to drive.

Archive for the ‘EDT’ Category

Posted by Louis on May 28, 2012

Pressure Coming on Unaccompanied Learner Drivers

By law, a learner driver must be accompanied by a fully qualified driver of at least two years standing and must also display an ‘L’ plate front and rear.

In a recent Garda survey throughout the country, it was discovered that compliance was not far short of 50%. Some 2,200 drivers were checked and 946 (43%) were unaccompanied by a full licence holder and 660 (c. 30%) did not display ‘L’ plates. Many offended in both categories. With summer upon us, the Gardai have made it known that there will be higher vigilance in the areas of speeding, drink and drug driving, non use of seat belts and the chestnut cracker of a mobile phone to the ear.

Yet, the law is not heavy-handed with young people and most will suffer a Caution if certain conditions apply.

Every young person setting out on  their driving mission should be taken to a morgue and made view the body of a crash victim – young, innocent, loving, invincible, with his family members standing there, numb.

Then, they should have on their driving syllabus the contents of a family impact statement like that of Margaret Sheehan which was read out at Cork Circuit Court recently. The judge said that it should be compulsory reading for all drivers. It read, in part –

‘There are places and moments in time that we all for one reason or another will never forget. Standing in the morgue in Cork City that morning the situation became a reality. The words and whispers that had been following us around for the previous few hours were now real. Our beautiful son  … was gone from us. Lying still, cold and lifeless in front of us, covered in a single white sheet – he lay silent in a world completely at odds with that in which his family stood.’

And there’s much more words of free-flowing expression from that mother’s grieving heart.

Nobody wants to be reminded, especially those who live the loss, and they are many. I am not saying that young drivers are responsible for all the worst situations out there. No, but we can’t get away from the cold fact that the record shows, that of all fatal crashes in any recent year, up to one third involved a driver between 17 and 25 years.

Learning to drive comes easy to most young people. With tuition, almost all become competent. As I emphasise to those who have progressed in the short few months, it then takes a few years to acquire the wisdom of the road. Apprenticeship is defined as a system of training a new generation of practitioners of a structured competency-based set of skills. Whether it be a bricklayer, a thatcher or a solicitor, each must go through the learning process for which there is no quick fix. Hence, a period of apprenticeship.

It’s the same for the learner driver who must be patient and, as a sage from Cavan once advised, ‘Progress slowly.’ Noel Brett and Traffic Commissioner O’Mahoney continually harp on that those recently invoked laws are there to provide a high standard of training for the novice and to protect them from the lurking harm that’s out there. Other drivers are immediately made aware, by means of the display of an ‘L’ plate, that such driver is in the learning process and may need extra space and a little protection from the hum and hassle that is a busy thoroughfare. Yes, there are those who may show little respect for a Learner Driver, perhaps that’s part of learning the trade: the world and her mother can’t go half fast enough for certain people.

Parents should advise their child of the intricacies of car insurance. Read the terms over carefully and, maybe, consult your broker. For, it should be noted that where a learner driver who is not complying with the terms of such licence and is involved in an accident, that driver is covered for third party liability, but their insurance provider may not cover any other costs and may seek to recover costs relative to the non compliance.

Overall, road deaths are down on last year which is great news. April, though, saw an increase of ten deaths on 2011. If you are a young driver, don’t invite your mother to compile a victim impact statement. It will kill her.

Posted by Louis on April 18, 2012

Essential Driver Training News and the Traffic Camera

The Essential Driver Training (EDT) programme is being reviewed by the Road Safety Authority at present and Driving Instructors have an opportunity to express their views on many aspects of how they rate the format and syllabus. When the programme was introduced just over one year ago (making it compulsory to take 12 driving lessons before applying for a Test) much reservation was expressed by Instructors and their representatives regarding the lack of consultation or approach in the drawing up of EDT. Students who underwent training over the past year will be familiar with the Lessons procedure and especially Lesson 2 which involves cornering, changing lanes, use of slip roads, negotiating roundabouts etc. Such challenge probably wasn’t intended  for the faint-hearted beginner.

The issue of the Sponsor has also presented its own problems. It is argued that having a parent or friend assisting with practice sessions between lessons only caused confusion for a learner and my contention there is that a Sponsor should be introduced only after five or six lessons with an Instructor. In fairness to the RSA, it was a vast leap from a few years back when there was no regulation for training and no defined standard for the Driving Test, so teething problems could be expected.

Students who are now undergoing driving lessons have been left in a twilight zone as regards when they might apply for a Driving Test. Where six or eight of the twelve lessons were completed, a minority have been applying to Ballina and in some cases were given a Test date. Now the official position with the RSA is that such students may apply for a Test, but, they will not be given an appointment date until the Driving Instructor has made a logbook return of the final lesson. Therefore, all lessons must be complete prior to getting a Test date. Of course, too, six months must have elapsed between the date of issue of one’s first Learner Permit and sitting the Test.

Even in gloomy times, there’s always good news. The ‘Go Safe’ traffic camera vans are credited with cutting the hourly speeding detection rate at accident blackspots by a whopping 93%. When the ‘Go Safe’ vans were launched, the detection rate was 14 per hour and now it’s just 1 per hour.

We are responding to the many road safety campaigns that hit the air waves during the year. Ten years ago, the deadliest hours for road fatalities was between 12mn and 4am, Friday to Sunday. However, for the past two years, most fatalities occurred between 3pm and 7pm on Thursdays and Fridays. In 1996, the majority of arrests for drink driving happened between 6pm and 12mn, whereas, of late, most such arrests are between 6.00am and noon, which is apparently related to the previous night’s drinking. So, getting a taxi home from the pub at midnight won’t necessarily save your bacon if there’s an early drive to do the next morning. Keep in mind that it takes two hours per unit of alcohol ( i.e. one glass of beer ) to clear the system.

Ireland now ranks third in the EU in terms of fatal accidents per capita coming in after Sweden and the UK. Last year was the first since records began in 1959 that fatalities were under 200. As of now we are 12 deaths less than last year, so, we are going in the right direction.

There’s no getting away, though, from the fact that the young male driver still poses a serious threat to road safety. About 25% of all road fatalities involve male drivers under 25 years. On the other hand, 20% of pedestrian fatalities involve people over 65. Excessive speed is a factor in more than half of accidents. The use of mobile phones while driving continues apace with over 33,000 convictions last year.

Now that the EDT programme is in full swing, youngsters have the benefit of professional training and, with a good attitude, road deaths and serious injury can be halved again in the next five years.