By Evin Grant
The total number of current learner permit licences in Ireland is 230,729, according to figures released by the RSA following a Freedom of Information request by TheCity.ie. This represented an increase of 3,109 from 2018’s figures.
195,323 of these permits are placed into category B, meaning the holder is eligible to drive a car once accompanied by a full driving licence holder.
Of these category B learner permit holders, approximately 60% (118,078) are aged between 17-29, 32% (63,623) are aged between 30-50 and 8% (13,622) are aged between 50 and beyond.
“The failure rate being down 4.1% is a step in the right direction”
According to the RSA, the average failure rate for driving tests in Ireland is 45.4%, which is down 4.1% from the 2018 rate of 49.5%.
“The failure rate being down 4.1% is a step in the right direction, without a doubt. It shows that the RSA and its certified instructors are improving in how they teach their driving students,” said Rory Brannigan of Road Safety Ireland.
It comes as no surprise that 60% of category B learner permit holders are aged between 17-29, as most people begin their driving journeys in that bracket. However, with 40% aged 30 and over, this is something the RSA will want to decrease.
“The 8% with learner permits over the age of 50, in particular, is an area that needs addressing. Barring the select few that are only beginning to learn, many of this 8% will have held their learner permits for a number of years and don’t even plan on sitting a driving test.
“The RSA need to address those who have held a learner permit in any category for more than five years in order to make our roads safer. And, might I add, it’s not just those aged over 50. Many younger people are guilty of it,” Brannigan said.