Belfast Telegraph

Call for driving lessons in schools

Driving instruction should be compulsory in schools to make Irish roads safer, politicians have said.

A cross-party committee also wants provisional licence-holders to have to take a full driving test within a specific period and called for parking fines to be halved if paid within 14 days.

Penalty points must also be imposed on the last registered owners of illegally dumped cars, the Oireachtas committee suggested to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar in its submission on new road traffic laws.

Chairman Ciaran Lynch said the committee broadly welcomed the provisions of the new Bill but made a few suggestions to make the law more effective.

"On a practical level, we believe that by discounting fines for parking tickets motorists will be encouraged to pay in timely fashion. Such a system has proved very effective in the north," said Mr Lynch.

In Northern Ireland, the amount of a parking ticket is cut from £60 to £30 if paid within two weeks, but upped after 28 days.

Mr Lynch added: "We are also recommending that a more stringent system be introduced to encourage more responsible disposal of cars to help combat illegal dumping, which is a serious problem in some parts of the country."

The members of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Transport, Culture and the Gaeltacht met Mr Varadkar in July as part of a new process which enables members to consider legislation at an early stage and have a more meaningful input into law making.

The committee said advice is needed from the Attorney General on the constitutionality of taking blood specimens from unconscious drivers.

It also raised concerns over proposals to move the tests for roadworthiness of commercial vehicles to a centralised location and away from local garages, fearing it could impact on employment.

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