DOZENS of provisional drivers are facing prosecution for road traffic offences following a major garda operation targeting their behaviour.
As part of a nationwide operation - code-named Operation Learner Permit - members of the divisional traffic corps staged checkpoints at several locations across the city and county over a 24-hour period last Thursday.
During the operation, checkpoints were put in place on some of the busiest routes in the city as well as near a number of schools and colleges.
“In addition to detecting offences, the aim of the operation was to create an awareness of the regulations which drivers with learner permits must comply with,” said Sgt John Moloney.
Over the 24 hour period, a total of 55 learner drivers were detected in Limerick driving without being accompanied by a qualified driver.
“Some were dealt with through the issuing of advice, some were cautioned and others will be dealt with by way prosecution where necessary,” said a garda spokesperson.
It is likely that those facing prosecution will be summonsed in the coming weeks to appear before the district court in the New Year.
Since mid-2008, all learner drivers who have provisional licences must be accompanied by a qualified driver and they must display L-plates on their vehicle.
Drivers convicted of breaking the regulations face fines of up to €2,000 and up to three months’ imprisonment.
While, the national figures for Operation Learner Permit have not yet been released, during a similar operation last year 43% of provisional drivers were unaccompanied and 30% did not have L-plates displayed on their vehicle.
Chris Walshe, president of the LIT Students Union, welcomed last week’s garda clampdown saying its important that students comply with the road traffic laws.
“I know it’s not always practical to be with a full driver all the time, but it’s best they avoid driving without one,” he said.