Back in 2015, a fatal accident caused by an unaccompanied learner driver caused the death of mother and daughter; Geraldine and Louise Clancy. The learner driver was later charged with a fifteen year driving ban and a three year suspended prison sentence.

But for Noel Clancy, husband and father of the deceased, there was nothing stopping this sort of an incident again. He took action and appealed for the ‘Clancy Amendment’ to be put into place. If this goes ahead that will mean that an unaccompanied driver will be causing an offence but so will the person who has allowed this to happen like the  owner of the car. Anyone can see where Mr. Clancy is coming from but is this really necessary? And if it is, there should probably be certain restrictions involved.

So far we know that a learner driver can get insurance, they must have a fill licensed driver with them at all times and both the driver and the own can be prosecuted for committing this offence.  The Circular needed to reach out to a professional to get an honest opinion about the benefits of this new amendment. Martin Dowd is a retired Guard who also worked in the Traffic Corps. The Circular asked him about the ‘Clancy Amendment’ and whether he thought it was a good idea and how he thinks it would be monitored,

Yes, I would be all for the amendment.  It gives Gardaí a little bit more power to deal with Road Traffic offences.  You see, things won’t be turned upside down by introducing it. It can be viewed as ‘According to The Road Traffic Acts from 1961 to 2016, Gardaí can/may summons the owner of a vehicle for allowing another to drive said vehicle in A Public Place , (1) without having on it a current tax disc in force; (2) without a policy of insurance in force covering the permitted driver to drive the vehicle’

Now…  Having said that, Gardaí can always use their discretion, or commonsense, on whether or not to summons an owner to Court.

This was mostly done after a law was passed that stopped provisional drivers from driving alone.  Depending on the situation in which a driver was stopped in a public place, this section of law could be used either to caution the driver or summons them to court.  Factors, like if everything else was in order and a genuine reason for such driving was given, would always be taken into account, as well as the attitude test.

I personally used this law on only three occasions, once because the driver, little pup, failed the attitude test,  Twice because the provisional driver was involved in a traffic accident.. As part of the accident investigation, this summons would have to be used, then let the Judge decide whether to prosecute or take it into account.

I can see the Clancy  amendment being taken on board in the same way by Gardaí and then the Judge can decide the outcome.”