Michael Healy-Rae says teenagers should be taught to drive in schools 4 months ago

Michael Healy-Rae says teenagers should be taught to drive in schools

"There seems to be absolutely no problem in teaching young people in very great detail all different aspects surrounding sex education and I'm sure that driving a motor car is every bit as important as that in my book."

Michael Healy-Rae has argued that teenagers should be taught to drive in secondary school.

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The Independent TD made the comments on Newstalk Breakfast on Wednesday (18 October) as he called on the Government to address the long waiting times for driving tests across the country currently.

Speaking about the issue and his plans to raise the matter in the Dáil on Wednesday, he told the programme:

"Over the last year, this number of people waiting has increased by 61%, reaching a total of 71,554 eligible individuals, which is up from 44,500, which was unacceptable last October, waiting for a driving test.

"And myself and my colleagues in the Rural Independent Group are raising this this morning in the Dáil.

"We're going to have a debate on it because we believe that the Government have to do something to recognise [the issue].

"In fairness to the Taoiseach, I actually spoke about this in the Dáil yesterday and he did agree.

"And I've had a vision in my head for a lot of time now, and I've been speaking about it in the Dáil, that when students are going to secondary school, they should actually leave secondary school with their Leaving Certificate in one hand and with a full driver's licence in the other."

Healy-Rae suggested that students could learn about the theory side of driving in their first three years of secondary school.

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As for transition year and during the Leaving Cert cycle, he said there "should actually be a motor car in each school" where teens "would look at how to check for oil, check tire pressure and learn about a motor car and during those years then be called for their driving test".

michael healy-raeMichael Healy-Rae says teenagers should be taught to drive in schools

"Now people in The Green Party mightn't like this," he added. "But one thing that the majority of young people will need to do and will have to do is drive a motor car - in particular if they are not from the centre of Dublin or Cork or Limerick where there's all different types of transport.

"If you're living in a rural area, the practicalities are you will have to drive a car."

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The TD even said that in his view, learning to drive is as important as sex education.

"There seems to be absolutely no problem in teaching young people in very great detail all different aspects surrounding sex education and I'm sure that driving a motor car is every bit as important as that in my book," he told the show.

Returning to the topic of lengthy waiting times for driving tests, Healy-Rae concluded:

"The Government has to come to grasp this problem... I mean, the waiting times are enormous. In Tralee for example, you can be waiting 45 weeks to be called for a test.

"This is no reflection whatsoever on the people who are doing the tests now, but quite simply there are not enough of them.

"The average waiting time itself is something like 30 and a half weeks nationally.

"I mean, that's wrong. It's affecting people's lives."

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Main image via Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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