This section outlines the legal requirements for becoming a fully licensed driver with notes on the Driver Theory Test, Learner Permit, Eyesight Reports, Medical Reports, and the Driving Test as they may apply to a prospective driver with a disability. The situation for full licence holders who acquire a disability is outlined as are the car insurance requirements

Driver Theory Test

The Driver Theory Test was introduced on 25 April 2001. It applies to all persons making application for a first learner permit in any particular vehicle category on or after that date.

Knowledge of topics such as the rules of the road, risk perception, hazard awareness, and good driving behaviour will be tested. The test is IT based and is in a user-friendly format.

A Theory Test Certificate must be presented to the persons Motor Taxation Office in association with a learner permit application within two years of the date of issue i.e. date of passing the test.

Note: A person shall be regarded as an applicant for a first learner permit in respect of a particular vehicle category if s/he has not held such a licence in the preceding five years. (Regulation 19 (3) – S.I. No. 537 of 2006).

Learner Permit

Learner Permit Licences were introduced on 30 October 2007 by S.I No. 719 of 2007 – Road Traffic (Licensing of Learner Drivers) Regulations 2007. The Learner Permit replaced the Provisional driver licences, which are no longer being issued since the introduction of the Learner Permit. Existing Provisional licences will continue to be valid until their expiry date. On renewal the person will be issued with a learner permit.

A Learner Permit is a licence issued to enable a person to learn to drive and to apply for a driving test. Driving with a Learner Permit is subject to certain conditions in the interests of the safety of the driver and other road users. You must hold a licence for the category of vehicle you are driving and comply with the conditions attached to the licence while you are driving.

After June 30th, 2008 all Learner permit holders in respect of the categories B, EB, C1, C, D1, D, EC, EC1, ED & ED1 must be accompanied at all times by a person who holds a full driving licence in the category for a continuous period of two years.

As from the 30 October 2007 persons who are granted a learner permit for vehicles in category A, A1, M, W, B or EB and have not previously held a learner permit in the five year period prior to the granting of such a permit in any of these categories may not apply for a driving test within the period of 6 months from the day the permit comes into force.

Those wishing to obtain a learner permit should apply to the Motor Taxation Office of your local County Council or City Council.

Normal Residence in Ireland

An applicant must be normally resident in Ireland to apply for a learner permit. In this connection, you shall be regarded as having your normal residence in Ireland if, because of personal and occupational ties, you usually live here for at least 185 days in each calendar year. However, if you have personal ties in Ireland and occupational ties in another country which require absences from this country, you may still be regarded as being normally resident in Ireland provided that you return here regularly. Working abroad on a specific task for a definite duration, or attending a foreign university or school, shall not imply that you have transferred your normal residence to another country.

Birth Certificate/Passport

Your application must be accompanied by an original birth certificate or passport unless:-

  • You hold a current driving licence or learner permit
  • You held a driving licence within the last ten years or a learner permit within the last five years
  • You hold a current valid driving licence issued by another Member State of the European Union or another “recognised country”
  • In certain instances, a Certificate of Registration may be submitted with a Learner Permit application instead of a birth certificate or passport.

Evidence of Identity

The licensing authority may, in its absolute discretion, request you to provide evidence of identity. Some documents which will be accepted for this purpose are a passport, a birth certificate, a marriage certificate, a certificate of registration, a cheque book, a cheque card, a credit card, a credit union membership card, a bank, building society or savings bank book, a Social Welfare payment book, signing-on card, free travel card, a medical card, an employee or student identity card or a travel document containing your name and photograph. You are advised to bring one of these documents with you if applying in person.

Eyesight Report Form (Form D.502)

A first time application for a learner permit must be accompanied by a satisfactory eyesight report. This report may be completed by a registered ophthalmic optician or by a registered medical practitioner. You must sign the eyesight report form in the presence of the optician or doctor.

Medical Report Form (Form D.501)

Your application must be accompanied by a medical report if:

  • You are applying for a learner permit in any of the categories C1, C, D1, D, EC1, EC, ED1 or ED.
  • You will be 70 years of age or more on the first day of the period for which the licence is being granted.
  • You suffer from any of the disabilities or diseases listed.
  • You have ever suffered from alcoholism or epilepsy.
  • You are taking, on a regular basis, drugs or medicaments which would be likely to cause the driving of a vehicle by you to be a source of danger.
  • The medical report must be completed by a registered medical practitioner and you must sign the declaration in his/her presence. (Note: A medical practitioner may suggest an applicant has a formal Driving Assessment)

Note:
(1) A person who suffers from serious arrhythmia which has at any stage resulted in loss of consciousness is particularly advised to consult his/her doctor before applying for a licence.

(2) A person who is dependent on or regularly abuses Psychotropic substances is disqualified from holding any learner permit or driving licence.

If you have any doubts about your physical or mental fitness to drive you should consult a doctor.

Medical report and eyesight report forms may be obtained from your local Motor Taxation Office or downloaded from the www.rsa.ie

Diseases or disabilities where a medical report is required

  • Alcoholism
  • Any physical disablement which is likely to affect ability to drive safely
  • Any illness which requires the regular use of psychotropic substances
  • Any illness or disease which requires the regular use of medications likely to affect the ability to drive safely
  • Cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, serious diseases of the blood.
  • Diplopia, defective binocular vision or loss of visual field
  • Encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis or hereditary diseases of the nervous system associated with progressive muscular atrophy and congenital myotonic disorders
  • Epilepsy, diseases of the peripheral nervous system, trauma of the central or peripheral nervous system.
  • Cerebrovascular diseases, lesion with damage to spinal cord and resultant paraplegia
  • Mental disturbance due to disease or trauma of, or operation upon, the central nervous system
  • Severe mental retardation, Psychosis, Psychoneurosis or personality disorders
  • Serious hearing deficiency.
  • Serious diseases of the blood.
  • Any disease of the genito-urinary system (including renal disorder) which is likely to affect ability to drive safely.

A learner permit application should include:-

In all cases

  • A completed application form (D. 201)
  • Two photographs (signed on back)
  • Your current or most recent driving licence and/or learner permit
  • The appropriate fee.
  • And if required in your case
  • An original birth certificate/passport.
  • An original certificate of registration.
  • An eyesight report/medical report.
  • Evidence that you underwent a driving test.
  • Evidence of a forthcoming driving test.
  • Lost licence declaration (D8.A).
  • Theory test certificate.

WARNING:
Section 38 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961 No. 24 of 1961 provides that any person driving a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place must hold a current learner permit or driving licence in respect of the vehicle category being driven. Any person contravening this requirement is liable to prosecution and penalties.

Section 115 of the Road Traffic, 1961 No. 24 of 1961 provides that any person applying for a learner permit or driving licence shall not furnish false or misleading information in connection with such application. Any person contravening this requirement is liable to prosecution and penalties.

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