Turning an Interview into an Article can be useful since it will be more conversational in style and perhap less formal.It is straight from the hip.
“I suppose I want to know a couple of things
1- How do you rate the testing system in Ireland- both for theory and the full test?”
The Theory Testing Service is fine up to a point. It’s only been in existence for five years and is better than nothing. I guess it does prevent total loonies from signing up for a Provisional License. It is not quite the same standard as the UK. Version since there are many more signs in the UK that we don’t have here in Ireland. Perhaps in future years it will be extended. I don’t have any figures for failure rates. A hazard awareness test was introduced into the UK recently to form part of the overall Driving Test. This would be a good model for Ireland since hazard awareness is one of the more difficult aspects of driving particularly for Learner Drivers. Dealing with, and anticipating hazards I believe is one of the most fundamental aspects of safe Driving. A learner just doesn’t have the on road experience to be more than mediocre in this skill unless they are taught by a really experienced Instructor!
The full Driving Test is no where near the standard that pertains throughout Europe currently but it has improved a lot in the last four years (mostly due to E.U.Directives)
For example we don’t have an emergency stop nor a reverse park into a space between two cars. The introduction of these two manoeuvres alone would, at current skills level throughout the Learner Driver community, dramatically increase the failure rate. The one common denominator in the failure rate and the level of accidents is the fact that so many young learner Drivers seem to be under the impression that owning and driving a car (often unaccompanied) for a year or so makes them (a) a skilled Driver and (b) ready to pass the Test! They don’t take lessons when starting off because its Uncool…it’s expensive…it’s not mandatory… and “sure all I have to do is to press the accelerator and the brake pedal occasionally and I’ll be fine”! We both know that this laissez-faire attitude is what is causing a very high proportion of accidents both fatal and otherwise.
There should also be a high speed carriageway section on the Driving Test since experience here would benefit a Learner Driver enormously. As a matter of course I have always given high speed tuition as soon as a pupil was ready (usually about the fifth session…these are two hour sessions now) that’s our standard lesson. Also rural roads should be included in the Driving Test as these are probably the most lethal of the Irish roads network. You know… the coming too fast round a bend to suddenly find ten tons of field spread all over the road as a Farmer does his muckspreading or silage or whatever. All of this would add up to a much longer Driving Test which would require much more serious Tuition and greater preparation if the candidate was to pass. Driving round and round Caherdavin housing estates in Limerick or Raheny in Dublin does not prepare a Driver for the real Irish Conditions on Motorways, Rural roads and Carriageways which make up by far the greatest types of driving conditions!
“2- What do you think is the primary reason people fail?”
Lack of foundation Lessons and lack of in depth pre-test tuition and practice. Without a good grounding with a professional Instructor (not Mum or Dad or the Boyfriend or next door neighbour) no amount of heading off to the beach every weekend or up and down the Country in the Nissan MICRA will bring a Learner Driver up to Test Standard by wishing and hoping!
“3-What do you think people should do after they fail?”
Reapply immediately and take the Lessons that they should have done to begin with! Then practice the new found skills (which they would already have if they had gone to a professional Driving School in the first place).
“4- What would you say to people who might suggest that Learner Schools want people to fail so that they might go to you for more lessons?”
No Professional Instructor wants his or her Pupil to fail. Some pupils of course might think that an Instructor could extract more lessons out of them and not be truthful about their real capabilities or chances of passing. As for me I teach (or try to!) skills for life which are way beyond the level of the Driving test. Passing The Driving Test is only the beginning of the learning process and enables a Driver to start to practice and perfect many diverse skills and techniques.
“5- What do you think are the primary reasons for the fatalities on Irish roads?”
No mandatory Training in force (but it’s coming…it has to!)Not enough input from Parents at a very early age. Many basic skills and levels of awareness can be taught to young children as they are carried as Passengers in a car. Children of fifteen and sixteen can be coached in the Theory Principles and actually sit their theory test before their 17th Birthday since the Test Certificate is valid for two years.
Not anything like enough emphasis on skills for life from many Instructors. Hell we have so called Instructors in Limerick who leave Test Centres with Pupils in Pupils own cars without L Plates displayed! A Professional Driving School carries sets of L plates with them all the time so if they are meeting a pupil in his or her own car for the first time it’s the first thing they check…then they check the certificates on the Windscreen and then give a close scrutiny to all of the tyres.
Summing up …not enough tuition of a sufficiently high caliber …not enough experience in poor weather conditions, which allied with the poor state of many secondary roads contributes greatly…and basically a complete lack of understanding of the dangers involved in Driving a Motor Vehicle.
“That’s all that I can think of for now…”
Hope this helps… Instructor
“Thanks a million”