Learner Driver Laws and the role of the sponsor driver in Ireland

This is a Legal definition is of administrative statute law but not defined in law.

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is an experienced driver who accompanies a learner driver in their practice driving sessions. Sponsors are often family members or close friends of learner drivers.

The Law

Before you take a learner driver out, it is essential that both you and the learner meet all of the legal requirements, including licensing and insurance rules.

It is illegal to receive any payment for accompanying a learner driver, unless you are an Approved Driving Instructor and hold the ADI certificate. All learner drivers need to complete the 12 essential driver training course with a driving school like easyDrive.

When you are sponsor a learner driver, you have the same legal responsibilities as if you were driving. For example, the drink drive laws and the ban on using mobile phone apply to anyone who is supervising a learner - you are deemed to be in control of the vehicle.

 

Learner Driver

The Learner Driver must:

  • Be at least 17 years old
  • Have a valid learner permit / provisional driving licence (for the type of vehicle being used - manual or automatic)
  • Be insured to drive the vehicle
  • Ensure the vehicle is in a safe and legal condition
  • Meet the legal minimum eyesight standards
  • Only drive when supervised by a person who has valid driving licence, which they have held for at least two years
  • Put L Plates on the front and rear of their vehicle.

Pre-Drive Checks

 

Do a pre-drive check, with your learner, before practice drives, so that they know how to keep the car in a safe and legal condition, and get them into the habit of doing regular checks and how to use car lights correctly. The learner will be asked to demonstrate this knowledge as part of their driving test.

Car checks

Check:

  • Tyres are undamaged (no cuts or bulges), are at the correct pressure and have enough tread depth. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, but above 3mm gives much shorter braking distances in the wet
  • There are no signs of vehicle damage
  • Oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels are correct (check when cold)
  • You know the correct type of fuel for the vehicle
  • Brakes are working
  • Lights and indicators are working
  • Windscreen and windows are not damaged
  • Washers and wipers are working
  • Mirrors are correctly positioned

Click here for more info on Tyre safety in Ireland