Driving School Ireland,
Phone 071 9162311 or 087 6688797

Section 2

The learner driver

The Road Safety Authority has produced a suite of manuals to help learners as they learn to drive a car, a truck or a bus, or ride a motorcycle.

Conditions for learner permit holders

When you are a learner driver you must , in addition to answering yes to the questions on page 23, comply with the following conditions:

1) Accompanied when driving

  • A holder of a learner permit for categories B, BE, C, C1, C1E, CE, D, D1, D1E and DE must be accompanied and supervised at all times by a qualified driver. A qualified driver is a person who has held a full driving licence in the same category for a continuous period of 2 years.
  • A holder of a learner permit for category AM, A1, A2 and A, as well as a certificate of satisfactory completion of Initial Basic Training (IBT) is not required to be accompanied.

2) 'L' Plates

  • Learner permit holders for all categories (except W) must display 'L' plates while they are driving.
  • Learner permit holders for categories A,A1 (and A2 from 19/01/12) and M(AM)(Motorcycles and Mopeds) must display 'L' plates on a yellow fluorescent tabard that is clearly visible on the front and back.

3) Essential Driver Training and Initial Basic Training

It is illegal to give driving instruction for hire or reward to learner drivers if you are not registered with the Road Safety Authority. A list of all Approved Driving Instructors (ADI) is available on

4) Car Driver Training

All holders of their first learner permit issued from 4 April 2011 must undertake Essential Driver Training (EDT) with an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). [See for an up to date list of ADIs.]

EDT is a training course that teaches fundamental driving skills to learner car drivers. The course is made up of 12 individual one hour lessons.

At your first EDT lesson your ADI will check your learner permit, and if you are using your own car, will check to make sure your insurance, motor tax, NCT and roadworthiness of the vehicle are all in order. In addition your ADI will give you your official EDT logbook which you are responsible for and should take along to each lesson. The logbook must be completed including an official stamp and instructor's signature.

A Sponsor is a qualified driver who must supervise any driving practice outside of formal lessons and track practice sessions in your logbook.

Be sure to confirm with your ADI what type of lesson you are booking for your next lesson. Not all lessons are EDT!

5) Motorcycles and Initial Basic Training

Since 6 December 2010 all new first time learner permit holders for motorcycles must undertake Initial Basic Training (IBT) with an approved IBT instructor, before they can ride a motorcycle unsupervised.

IBT is a training course that teaches basic riding skills to learner motorcyclists. IBT is a 16-hour course broken into 4 modules focusing on theory and practical skills, to be taken in sequence.

When you have completed each IBT Module of your IBT course, your instructor will record the details of your training in your logbook. Once all modules have been completed, your ADI will issue you with a Certificate of Satisfactory Completion.

You must keep your Certificate with your learner's permit and carry it with you whenever you are riding as you may be asked to produce it by a member of An Garda Siochana.

You can then apply for your practical driving test.

[If you want to upgrade the bike you ride you may need to complete a 'progression module'. Visit for more details.]

Until they hold their full licence motorcyclists must carry their IBT certificate when motorcycling without an IBT trainer.

6) Motorways

As a learner permit holder you must not drive on a motorway. It is an offence to do so.

7) Trailers

Learner permit holders driving vehicles in Categories B, C, C1, D or D1 (cars, buses or trucks) must not tow a trailer.

8) Carrying Passengers

A person who holds a learner permit for:

  • Any category must not carry any passenger for reward.
  • A person who holds a learner permit for category W (for example, a work vehicle or land tractor) must not carry a passenger unless the vehicle is constructed or adapted to carry a passenger and the passenger is a qualified driver.
  • A person who holds a learner permit for category A1, A2, A or AM (motorcycle or moped) must not carry a passenger

9) Motorcycles

Category A2 learner permit holders are entitled to drive motorcycles with:

  • An engine power output of 35KW or less, or
  • A power/weight ratio of 0.16W/kg or less.

It is your responsibility to check the power of the motorcycle. If you are in any doubt, consult with the dealer/manufacturer.

Learner permit expiration

No matter what type of motor vehicle you drive, you may get a third and subsequent learner permit only if you show that you have taken a driving test within the previous two years.

If you have not taken the test, you must give either:

  • Evidence of a medical condition that prevented you from taking the test, or
  • Evidence that you applied to sit your driving test for that category of vehicle.

If you are a first time holder of a learner permit for categories A, A2, A1, B, AM (M) or W, that is, a person not previously having held a learner permit (or whose provisional licence/learner permit has expired by more than 5 years) in the category, you are not allowed to take a driving test for a six month period after the commencement date of the permit. This provision is to allow you gain experience of driving. Research shows that the longer a learner is supervised while driving, the less likely they are to be involved in a collision.


The drink drive limit for learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test) and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers (PSV) is 20 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

Never ever drink and drive.


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