What Happens If A Learner Driver Drives Alone?

What Are The Consequences Of Driving Un-Supervised?

Learner driver unaccompanied

Practising to drive is an important part of being a learner. In fact, the more practise you get, the more experience you’ll gain, and in turn, you could become a safer driver. However, before you can get in a car as a learner driver, there are some rules that need to be followed regarding who you need to drive with. When a person with a learner permit drives alone in a car, they’re known as an ‘unaccompanied learner driver’.

Below, you can find the commonly asked questions about unaccompanied drivers and what the law says about driving before you’ve passed your test.

Is It Against The Law To Drive As An Unaccompanied Learner Driver?

It is against the law to drive as an unaccompanied learner driver in Ireland. Doing so can result in penalties for both you and the person that owns the vehicle (such as a parent or guardian). The law specifically states, as part of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, that a person with a learner permit should be accompanied at all times in the car. The accompanier must have a full, valid driving licence which has been valid for a minimum of two years.

Such laws are in place to keep you and other road users safe. Data from the Department of Justice shows that out of 40 fatal crashes on Irish roads between 2017 and 2020, 33 involved learner drivers that were unaccompanied in their vehicle.1 When you’re driving a vehicle as a learner driver, you must also ensure that it has the correct take out car insurance. and that you have ‘L’ plates attached to the vehicle.

Does This Apply To Me If I'm A Non-Irish Licence Holder?

The unaccompanied learner driver laws only apply to you if you have an Irish learner permit. However, there are other laws for non-Irish provisional licence holders.

It’s against the law to drive in Ireland with a non-Irish provisional licence or learner permit. If you wish to drive in Ireland when you’re visiting (or you live there but are not a citizen), you must have a full, valid driving licence.

I Had My Licence Revoked And I Am Now A 'Learner' Driver Again, Does This Apply To Me?

The laws apply to all holders of a learner permit. This means, even if you have previously had a full licence, you will be considered a learner driver, and so must always have someone accompanying you until you pass your test again.

What Will Happen If I'm Deemed To Be An Unaccompanied Learner Driver?

There are fines for a learner who is driving unaccompanied, however the penalty may depend on whether you also own the vehicle.

In the first instance, you may receive an €160 fine and two penalty points. This is the case if you pay the fine within 28 days. After this time period has passed and the fine has gone unpaid, it can increase to €240. Should you be convicted in court, the penalty points can increase to four points.

If you were charged as an unaccompanied learner driver and you also owned the vehicle, the vehicle can be impounded.Research has shown, there are almost 5,000 impounded vehicles in Ireland that have been detained after unaccompanied learner drivers were pulled over.2 If you are not the owner of the car but someone else is, they can receive a fine of up to €1,000. This is in addition to the fine and points you could receive as the driver.

What Is The Maximum Fine And Penalty Points Attached To This Law?

The maximum fine for driving unaccompanied is €240 and the maximum number of points you can receive is four.

If you are the owner of a vehicle and you have let someone with a learner permit drive alone, you could receive a fine of up to €1,000.

When Does This Law Not Apply To Me?

The unaccompanied learner driver law applies to any driver with a learner permit. However, it may not apply to you if you are learning to drive a motorbike and you hold an initial basic training (IBT) certificate that demonstrates satisfactory completion. It might also not apply if you are learning to drive a tractor and your tractor only has one seat. Should your tractor have two seats (i.e. space for both you and a passenger), you should be accompanied at all times by someone who has held a full driving licence for two years.