In anticipation of the introduction of the new graduated licensing scheme on April 4 the RSA have launched a crackdown on unregistered driving instructors and are running a public awareness campaign alongside this.
Since 2009 it has been law that for anyone to offer a driving lesson for hire or reward they must be a registered ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) in the relevant category for the vehicle in which they are teaching. The RSA are currently pursuing up to 7 illegal instructors in Letterkenny, Co Donegal alone.
“The problem is much greater than the public may be aware”, said Stephen Sweeney, General Manager with Swilly Drive School of Motoring, “People may not be registered as they are unable to obtain Garda Vetting or a Tax Clearance Certificate, or simply because they have not passed the rigorous testing regime which legal operators have undergone”
Stephen points out that the problem is not limited to car instructors, “The problem grows when we move into the area of truck and bus lessons, instructors may hold an ADI card for a car but decide to fill slack time by giving lessons in a truck or bus – the biggest implication for this is that the learner may be deemed to be uninsured should they have an accident during a lesson as they are learning with an unqualified instructor.”
The RSA website, www.rsa.ie, contains a detailed database of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) showing their location, contact details and the categories for which they are qualified. Stephen concludes by saying, “People deserve to get what they pay for and should not be embarrassed to double check their instructor is legitimate – to protect themselves if nothing else.”