Plans to allow 16 year old to drive "would be good for rural Ireland".
That's according to Independent TD Michael Healy Rae following an EU Commission proposal which would allow 16-year-olds to drive vehicles.
The vehicles would be adapted with a speed limiting device set to a maximum speed of 45km an hour .
The measure has been proposed as part of a major revision of EU rules on driving licenses in a bid to "address mobility issues in remote areas".
The controversial proposal has been met with criticism by road safety groups as well as the European Transport Safety Council.
Mr Healy Rae told the Pat Kenny show, on Newstalk, that young people should be given the opportunity to drive from the age of 16.
“Allowing people to drive a car – people are already allowed to drive a tractor at that age – it would be good for them.
"It would be good for rural Ireland; it would help keep people living there because they'd be able to assist parents and grandparents by running errands.
"We should be encouraging young people; we should be helping them to get going in life.”
The Kerry based TD said obviously such a development would require a new education model around road safety in Irish schools.
“When a person is in first, second and third years in secondary school, the teaching of the rules of the road, the operational use of a car, it should all be it should be part of the curriculum.
"We should be aiming to achieve a situation where every young person when they will be sitting their Leaving Cert … would be doing so with a full driver's licence in their back pocket.
“Isn't there plenty of time for sex education in our schools? It's very unusual, the concentration and some of the aspects of that subject and the effort and the money and the time that is going into that.
“We're telling them what to do in the back seat, but we're not telling them what to do in the front seat.”
Mr Healy Rae said that the the proposal would draw criticism from "naysayers".
"The one thing that I would say about the RSA and all of the people involved in road safety: their hearts and minds are 100 per cent in the right place.
"They're obsessed with people speeding, and they're obsessed with drink-driving.
"But the one thing they were never obsessed with was educating young people how to drive a car.”
Meanwhile, editor of completecar.ie Shane O’Donoghue was also interviewed by Pat Kenny. He said that any move to reduce the driving age would "just add more danger" to Irish roads.
“We already are just getting to grips with trying to stop young learner drivers driving unaccompanied, and that's still a problem in Ireland.
"The rules are there to take the average. The average 17-year-old is going to be significantly more mature than the average 16-year-old.
"These people will be inexperienced, and they'll be putting those people at more risk than ever, and I think that's one of the big considerations.”
Written by Olivia Kelleher
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