Driving Schools in Limerick are much the same as those elsewhere; a mix of full time Professionals; some part time Instructors; some occasional Instructors and the usual crop of drivers who masquerade as Instructors. The lack of any formal Driving Instructor Examinations and ongoing monitoring has meant that anyone with a Driving license can stick a sign on the roof of his car and call himself an Instructor. There is plenty of this type of example throughout the country and Limerick is no exception. Sadly the level of skill being displayed by most Learner Drivers in Limerick is a reflection on the lack of commitment by successive governments to tackle head-on, the various issues surrounding driving and learning to drive. If there is no culture of Professional Driving Lessons only a lemming-like fascination with passing the Driving Test and nothing more; then it is hardly surprising we have one of the worst equipped Driving Populations in Europe!
Currently the newly established Road Safety Authority is processing the proposed setting up of an official Register of Driving Instructors. The new Register will come into being in the summer of 2007 and will finally bring some semblance of order to the Profession, and with it the long awaited improvement in Driver Standards which one day will reduce the horrific accident statistics that are common in Ireland at present. A three part Examination process, together with further checks of Teaching Ability and vehicle Inspections will no doubt remove all those who are not committed to achieving the highest of Standards and continuing with further Professional Development.
The format of the Examinations and ongoing monitoring of Instructors is due to be modelled on the European Standard; in line with the continual striving of Brussels to bring all 25 E.U.States into a common standard of Tuition principles and Driving Test parameters.
Ireland is one of only a couple of countries within the E.U. community that has no long established regulation and monitoring of Driving School standards. There is also no current mandatory tuition of Learner Drivers which has lead to a virtual free- for- all on the roads throughout the country for many years. This has lead to pitiful Driving Standards throughout the whole driving population; a waiting list for the Driving Test that is probably the worst in Europe at approximately 11 months as we speak and a cost to the State of around 1.5 Billion Euro per Annum in coping with the horrendous accident fall-out.
The Driving Test results in the Limerick and Mid-west area generally have been at the higher end of the scale for several years in contrast with other parts of the country that haven’t fared so well in pass rates. Probably the huge increase in the population locally has contributed to an awareness of Driving Schools and their visibility. Perhaps more Learner Drivers have been persuaded to take professional lessons than many of those residents of more rural areas where practise with Parents or in the confines of the nearest field seems to be recognised as the rite of passage!
Many fatal accidents have taken place on rural roads which will always remain the most dangerous of driving environments particularly in the autumn and winter months which is why all Learner Drivers should be given tuition and tutoring on these roads as a matter of course. Far too many Driving Instructors focus entirely on the Driving Test and entirely on City Roads when a broader scope of lessons which includes high speed carriageway driving and rural roads should be an essential part of the curriculum. This type of training would undoubtedly save lives and reduce the accident statistics.
For Limerick Learner Drivers the choice is clear …take sufficient professional lessons and gain advanced skills from a suitably qualified Instructor before venturing into your own car and into the blue yonder. Just buying a car and hoping to pick up a few skills along the way will not keep you alive and will not enable you to pass the Driving Test in Limerick. The volume of traffic in and around the city and county now is very substantial as the University and other Colleges continue to expand and companies are attracted to the region. Dealing with this growth in traffic as a learner driver needs a good deal of practise if you are going to stay safe and out of trouble!