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Driving School Ireland
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Essential Driver Training (EDT)

The following was emailed to all ADI's following a series of nationwide meetings between driving instructors and the RSA

FAQs following ADI Briefing Sessions

The RSA completed a series of ADI briefings covering the Essential Driver Training (EDT) programme. The purpose of this FAQ is to respond to issues raised in the briefings and questions that have arisen in the meantime. The target of the EDT programme is to change the way learners train to drive in Ireland. Changing that culture will take some time and all Stakeholders will face challenges in that time. The objective of making our roads safer and reducing death and injuries is one that demands our energy and engagement so as to build on improvements achieved in the recent past.

Q. Are ADIs already training learner drivers in the skills which EDT proposes?

A. EDT gives the ADI a clear objective of each lesson and a set of expected outcomes. The EDT lessons also have a minimum content specification. This approach is in keeping with all good training. It is commonly understood that training without specific objectives or targeted outcomes is generally very ineffective and often considered a waste of time and effort. In order to ensure the learner gets the most out of each EDT lesson, these objectives and expected outcomes will give their learning direction.

Q. How can an ADI meet the needs of learner drivers with varying ability levels in one hour?

A. By establishing the 'base line' for the lesson an instructor should develop a detailed lesson plan to meet the lessons objectives. The varying levels of experience and preparation will influence the depth of theory and amount of practice possible within the lesson on an individual basis. Feedback then provided by the ADI will reflect progress on any shortfalls towards meeting the expected outcomes.

Q. The ADI has to liaise with the Sponsor, provide feedback and make returns. This will take away time from the lesson

A. The level of feedback and guidance should form part of the usual lesson and will not take more that 3 or 4 minutes. Trials have shown us that in fact the impact on lesson time is minimal. The benefit for the learners from this process will far outweigh any negative impact on time.

Q. If it takes 14 lessons to get the driver competent, how will that reflect on the ADI?

A. Getting a driver competent takes considerable time and will only happen through instruction and practice over a period of time. The ADI is expected to deliver the minimum contents set out in each lesson and give feedback to the learner as to the extent of any shortfall in terms of meeting the expected outcomes for the particular lesson.

Q. What evidence is there to support the order of the lessons? Why can't the sequence of the lessons be up to the discretion of the ADI?

A. The sequence of the EDT lessons is designed to track progress through the full Learning to Drive Syllabus. It is seen as important for clarity to ADIs, learners and sponsors that a fixed sequence is set out for the most critical skills.

Q. If some of the Expected Outcomes are not achieved, does the ADI still stamp the Logbook?

A. Yes, the feedback recorded in the logbook should reflect any shortfalls in terms of achieving the expected outcomes.

Q. How will the ADI know if the learner has the preparation work done before the lesson?

A. The ADI should clarify this with the learner by phone, when they call to make an appointment for the lesson. Simple Q&A will assist ADI's in establishing what if any preparatory work has been done, and how to manage the lesson

Q. Can the learner driver finish EDT without reaching any specific standard?

A. EDT requires the learner to undertake training covering certain high risk driving aspects; the ADI will reflect the learner's progress in the feedback in the logbook. Where learners fully engage in this process it is expected that considerable benefits towards them becoming a 'better safer driver 'will follow.

Q. If the learner does not reach the expected outcomes will s/he look for their money back?

AA. The learners sentiments will very much depend on the approach taken by the ADI and as professionals the ADIs should not have great difficulties with this.

Q. Does the ADI stamp the logbook even if the learner is not able to do some of the requirements of the lesson?

A. Yes, The fact that a learner does not meet some of the expected outcomes should then be recorded in the feedback section of the logbook and that is what is being stamped and signed by the ADI.

Q. Has the RSA done a trial of the EDT programme?

A. Whilst no formal trial has been carried out, from research we learn that important aspects of the EDT scheme such as 'self analysis' and 'lesson plans' are already being covered by ADIs. The learners experiencing these techniques are more successful in passing their subsequent driving test. The EDT programme will be evaluated at the end of a two year period and will take account of feedback from learners, ADI's and sponsor any required amendments to the scheme will be implemented.

Q. How can the learner prepare for Lesson 1 without having completed lessons with an ADI?

A. When a learner engages an ADI, as now it's expected that the ADI will give some basic pointers as to preparation for the lesson-advice is clearly set out in the EDT syllabus. The RSA is also producing a Learner Driver Manual and a Learner Driver Training syllabus. Both these documents will have information on basic preparatory checks before starting the driving process which an ADI can point to.

Q. Why are there 12 lessons?

A. We are moving from a situation where there are no mandatory lessons at present and want to cover the most critical skills at present. We believe that this is a reasonable period to deliver these skills. The programme will be evaluated in future and a judgment will be made as to the effectiveness of the programme at that time.

Q. Can the EDT programme be completed in less than 6 months?

A. Yes, it can. However the guidance is that to get best advantage from the EDT programme and to take enough practice plenty time should be allowed between lessons.

Q. Should lessons be carried out with dashboard warning lights?

A. It's a matter for the ADI to make sure the vehicle in which the lessons are being taken is safe for both ADI and learner.

Q. Why should the ADI stamp the logbook of a learner that has not reached the level necessary and not stamp the logbook early of a learner that already has the necessary level of competence before the lesson?

A. In the former case the logbook will reflect the fact that there is a shortfall in terms of the expected outcomes. Positive engagement between ADI and learner around the proper preparation will ensure that expected outcomes should be achieved as the norm. In the latter case it will still be necessary to complete the lesson in order to understand if and how the leaner has met the expected outcomes.

Q. If the learner challenges decisions made by the ADI, who do they go to?

A. In such a case the ADI is recording any progress or shortfall in terms of the expected outcomes for the lesson. This reflects the professional judgment of the ADI. The RSA will monitor the implementation of this important initiative and deal with issues as they arise. If any action is required it will be taken.

Q. What is the legislation that the RSA is following to impose the ADI handing out logbooks and storing the certificates?

A. The RSA and the Department of Transport will bring forward Regulations covering the EDT programme in the coming weeks. Making logbooks freely available would increase considerably the chances of fraud and misuse of the logbook. Most ADIs are self-employed and the requirement to store records is already a feature of their status as ADIs; retaining records relating to business activities is a requirement of most businesses.

Q. What is the process for lost logbooks?

A. A learner must go to the ADI and get a duplicate- the learner must report its loss to the Gardaí and pay for a replacement

Q. How much will additional logbooks cost?

A. The RSA is organising a central contract to cover logbook production and to get best value per logbook. Details of the successful contractor will be given to each ADI and the process for ordering new logbooks set out once the supplier is in place.

Q. Why can't the logbook be issued as part of the Theory Test or at the Motor Tax Office?

A. Logbooks are part of the learning process and as ADI's you are the 'point of contact' from where a learner begins their lessons and as such are seen as the most appropriate people to be dealing with it's provision. ADI's will have a perfect opportunity to explain the purpose and significance of the logbook. In addition we need to ensure that the logbook is not compromised and there being a clear link between the ADI and the logbook minimizes the possibility of fraud. This is in the interest of all stakeholders.

Q. Why should ADIs have to pay for the logbook? Who will set the price?

A. We will ensure that by securing a central contractor that we get lowest possible price. Involving ADIs directly helps to give a higher level of security against fraud.

Q. Can a learner use the same logbook if changing to a different ADI?

A. Where a learner changes ADI the logbook will transfer to the new ADI and this will be reflected in the logbook record within the EDT system.

Q. Does the learner driver have to bring the logbook into the driving test? And subsequent tests if there is a need to repeat the driving test?

A. An IT system is being developed which will permanently record the completion of the lessons; it is anticipated that the need to bring the logbook to the driving test will only last for a short period.

Q. What in the logbook is presented to the driver tester?

A. Just the Lesson Certification pages- and this will only apply for the short period while the EDT IT system is being developed.

Q. What will the RSA do about ADIs that just stamp of the logbook without actually doing the lessons?

A. This is fraud and if an ADI is determined to engage in this behaviour it can be difficult to counter this; however it will reflect on that person's status as a fit and proper person to be an ADI.

Q. Is the logbook available in other languages?

A. We plan to issue the logbook in the two official languages of the State - Irish and English.

Q. What is the delivery time for logbooks?

A. We will specify a quick turnaround time for logbook delivery from the contractor.

Q. What is the minimum quantity that can be ordered of logbooks?

A. Ten logbooks will be the minimum amount for each order.

Q. Why can't the driver number be in the logbook and issued to the applicant?

A. If we permit widespread access to the logbook it increases the chances of fraud.

Q. What exactly is the role of the Sponsor?

A. The Sponsor must be an experienced driver who will support and supervise the practice of the learner. His / her role is to assist the learner to become a better safer driver.

Q. What happens when learner drivers do not have a Sponsor available to them?

A. At present all learner drivers are expected by law to be accompanied whenever they drive, the role of the Sponsor builds on this requirement.

Q. What happens if the Sponsor teaches the learner bad habits or contradicts the ADI?

A. The Sponsor is not expected to engage in formal instruction but rather to supervise the practice of the learner whilst being guided by the ADI's feedback and recommendations.

Q. Is it mandatory to have a Sponsor?

A. No, however learner drivers are expected by law to be accompanied-the role of the Sponsor builds on this requirement.

Q. Can the Sponsor travel in the back seat of the car?

A. A Sponsor should be in the front of the car. If an ADI invites a Sponsor to join in on a driving lesson (EDT or otherwise) that is a matter for the ADI.

Q. What happens if the ADI and the Sponsor come in conflict with one another?

A. This must be managed by both parties similar to the way conflict is managed in many learning situations. The needs of the learner must be paramount.

Q. What about a Sponsor that is disqualified from driving?

A. In order to accompany a learner driver he / she must hold a current and valid driving licence (for a minimum of two years).

Q. Who can become a Sponsor?

A. A person who holds a full licence for two years and should have lots of driving experience. The Sponsor has to be willing to take on that important role and fully understand the role.

Q. Does the RSA know the damage currently being done by Sponsors?

A. We recognise that the level of support given by Sponsors can be varied. However, research shows that supervised practice is extremely beneficial in the learning to drive process and overseeing the practice is the essential task that is expected of Sponsors.

Q. How should an ADI deal with an uncooperative Sponsor that is teaching the learner bad habits?

A. By providing good feedback and guidance to the learner and continually reinforcing this throughout the EDT programme.

Q. Are the ADIs going to become trainers or Sponsors?

A. The role of the ADI is to instruct; the quality of instruction will also benefit the work of the Sponsor as the learner will be better able to undertake practice sessions under the supervision of a Sponsor.

Q. Is there any way to evaluate the skill level of the Sponsor?

A. No. However learners are given guidance to choose a responsible Sponsor who has lots of driving experience and has the interests of the driver at heart. Good quality instruction will provide the platform for learners to practice their skills under the supervision of a Sponsor.

Q. The role of the Sponsor is similar to that of a 'good' ADI. How can they do this with no training?

A. The role of the Sponsor is to take the driver on practice sessions and to encourage and motivate the learner to engage in good and safe driving behavior, not to assume the role of an ADI.

Q. Is the RSA endorsing the learner take lessons with anyone?

A. No, at present learners practice with an accompanied driver; the role of the Sponsor is to formalize this.

Q. Are ADIs expected to give Sponsors advice in their free time? In other countries ADIs are paid to hold 'Sponsors nights'.

A. ADIs and Sponsors can communicate via the Logbook or may decide that a Sponsor can sit in on a lesson. This however this is entirely voluntary on the part of each of the three stakeholders Learner, ADI and Sponsor.

Q. Are there any provisions for those on a foreign licence? Must they complete EDT? Even in cases where they are already competent drivers?

A. Yes, they are first time learner permit holders and must do EDT; almost all of these drivers will be used to driving on the right and will benefit from the EDT programme.

Q. A fully licenced driver comes to Ireland and is not subject to the 6 month rule is subject to EDT?

A. Yes

Q. How do you tailor EDT for a foreign driver that already has lots of driving experience?

A. Lesson objectives still need to be met. Experienced drivers will progress faster and this provides for greater depth of knowledge or practice that can be achieved.

Q. Will ADIs be receiving more training on the delivery of the EDT programme?

A. While it's recognized there will be a bedding-in period, EDT just formalizes what most ADI's have been doing to date. The RSA has committed to looking at training needs of ADIs to maximize the gain from EDT.

Q. Will the RSA be giving a day or a few hours to help ADIs fill out paperwork? (workshop)

A. The EDT programme should not increase the paperwork burden significantly beyond what it is at present.

Q. Do ADIs have to retire if they are not IT competent?

A. No it is not envisaged that this will cause a significant burden for ADI's. The RSA will work to minimise the administrative burden and will provide supports to ADI's wherever possible.

Q. What will the RSA do about those that do not have access to the internet or a computer?

A. It will be possible to use a shared facility. The RSA recognise that some ADI's will not have access and will do everything possible to minimize the administrative burden.

Q. Will keeping records in the ADI home increase costs of insurance or rates cost?

A. This is a matter that should be discussed with your insurer and local authority. Presumably rules that cover small businesses will apply in such situations. The RSA has been advised that rates would not apply wherever the original purpose of a room in a house has not significantly changed. The Dept of Environment, Heritage and Local Government has advised that simply storing documents does not count as a significant change of purpose.

Q. Will ADIs be called up before Revenue for not paying tax?

A. This is a matter between each individual and Revenue; the RSA has not been asked to share data with Revenue. However, it is and will continue to be, a requirement of being an ADI to be fully tax compliant.

Q. Do Revenue Commissioners have access to ADI records?

A. We have not been asked to give access to data to any third party. If asked we can only do so subject to Data Protection and laws governing the sharing of data.

Q. EDT will result in higher insurance costs for ADIs

A. It is not clear if this is the case or if any increases in premiums will be linked to EDT.

Q. Who are the ADIs releasing from liability on the waiver form?

A. Separate information on this will issue early next week.

Q. If the ADI is already an IBT provider do they need to resubmit a further liability release waiver and insurance declaration form?

A. This will be dealt with in the issuing of the documents next week.

Q. What are the RSA doing to assist learners in getting affordable insurance so that they can practice?

A. The RSA meets regularly with the IIF and our CEO raises this issue. We believe insurers will respond to this mandatory training and assist us in facilitating learners practice. They are fully committed to this and we expect to see improvements as the benefits of EDT become apparent.

Q. Some learner drivers are not in a position to have a Sponsor or cannot afford to insure themselves. This gives insurers a monopoly position as they can advertise free insurance for students when their Sponsor is insured with them and book 10 pre-paid lessons, benefitting the insurer in 2 ways: capturing the insurance market and driver training market. What are the RSA doing to prevent this situation?

A. Most learners do in fact get practice and regrettably get almost to the end of the learning to drive process before engaging with an ADI at all. We seek to change that culture and whilst we recognise not everyone will be able to do it the very best way, there is significant research supporting the concept that learners learn better when they practice, practice, practice. The RSA cannot interfere with the marketing plans of any individual company but we do know that such schemes have been in existence for many years now, we do not see that EDT will change that.

Q. Are ADIs legally allowed to check if a learner driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

A. ADI are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure that a learner can safely be let behind the wheel- this is for the ADI's safety as well as the learner. ADI's do not have formal powers to alcohol test learners but under the EDT regulations are required to ask learners to confirm their fitness to drive.

Q. Why are ADIs asked to check for 'Fitness to Drive' when driver testers are not?

A. Largely the same checks are carried out at driving test stage. It is important to emphasise the importance of various documents and practices from the earliest stage so that they become the norm for drivers.

Q. Why do Gardaí not enforce learner drivers unaccompanied?

A. The RSA has and continues to use its influence to impress on Gardai at the highest level of the need and road safety benefit of enforcing all aspects of traffic law including, the use of L plates and accompanied driving. The Gardai ultimately make the final decision as to the deployment of resources given competing priorities.

Q. When will the ADI have to feedback information to the RSA on EDT?

A. ADI will have to provide details of EDT lessons to the RSA this is to ensure the programme is being taken by learners and that rogue instructors are not operating the programme. The RSA will be directly in touch with ADIs with details of the process.

Q. EDT is not all that is needed to pass the driving test. Has this been communicated to the public?

A. It is recognized that an ADI can only achieve the learning outcomes for each lesson if the learner does the necessary, preparation, practice and instruction. This is being communicated in a number of ways through the RSA website, in the EDT Information Booklet and through the EDT promotion campaign.

Q. What has the feedback from around the country from ADIs been like?

A. Many ADIs have concerns that learners and their parents will expect that the EDT programme will of itself make learners good safe drivers. The RSA continue to advise clearly that while EDT is an important stepping stone it will only build driving skills in conjunction with practice and additional driving instruction. ADI's also have concerns about the role of the Sponsor, the RSA recognize that the Sponsor has a role in helping with practice but will not generally have skills to deliver formal instruction. The role of the Sponsor is one that must be developed over time until it becomes established as a vital tool in the learning process. Research tells us that practice plays a central role in building skills in any learning environment.

Q. Should all drivers not sit their driving test again to ensure all are of competency levels, save doing EDT with learners?

A. This would require a change of law across the EU as people in Ireland are allowed to drive in other EU states. There are no plans to do this. The RSA will continue to run promotion and information campaigns to inform people against the major causes of accidents- speed, drug/drink-driving, fatigue, and non seatbelt wearing.

Q. Is EDT applicable to first time learner permit holders in EB?

A. No. It applies to first time learner permit holders in Category B only issues on or after 4th April 2011.

Q. What is the RSA doing about rogue instructors?

A. Liaising with Gardai on the enforcement of the ADI regulations. However the introduction of EDT will be the most significant step in closing out the rogue instructors.

Q. Are the RSA now encouraging people that cannot get Insurance cover to drive and practice without insurance between EDT lessons that they are taking in a school car?

A. All learner drivers must by law have insurance to drive-this position has not changed. Learner drivers currently practice and will continue to do so with a Sponsor under EDT.

Q. Can responsibility come back to ADIs if learner driver crashes when practicing something the ADI told them to practice?

A. ADI will be expected (as heretofore) to be responsible and exercise care in instructing a learner driver. ADIs acting reasonably and responsibly in the discharge of their duties should have nothing to fear- any concerns in that regard should be discussed with their insurer.

Q. Why were these briefings not held 6 months ago?

A. A huge amount of work was needed to develop the EDT programme which followed on from the IBT programme. This work has just now been completed and it enabled a rollout of briefings almost a month in advance of go live day.

Q. Can ADIs give ordinary lessons and not get involved in EDT?

A. Yes if they so wish they do not have to deliver the EDT programme.

Q. Do ADIs have to register to do EDT?

A. Yes, ADIs will need to sign a disclaimer and declaration form to become registered to deliver EDT.

Q. What is the purpose of notifying the ADI insurance companies of EDT?

A. As this is a significant initiative for learner drivers the RSA want to advise and gain the support of insurance companies. Better safer drivers will see fewer accidents and should lead to lower expenditure on claims in the long run.

Q. Where will the external accreditation come from?

A. The RSA has commenced a programme to deliver a HETAC qualification to driver testers.

Q. When will HP test come?

A. Some further study is needed to establish if there is proven learning value to be gained from implementing a Hazard Perception Test. This study has not yet started.

Q. Does a poor learner driver reflect badly on an ADI?

A. It is recognized that an ADI can only achieve the learning outcomes for each lesson if the learner does the preparation, does the practice and takes any further instruction that is needed to be ready for each EDT lesson. Obviously a consistently poor standard of learner from a particular ADI may signal an issue in terms of the quality of instruction being delivered.

Q. Will somebody that exchanges a licence be subject to EDT?

A. Yes, where that person takes out a first learner permit they will need to take EDT.

Q. If every ADI in the country refused to do EDT what would happen?

A. It would not be possible to introduce mandatory training for car drivers. EDT will be needed for a learner to take a driving test; where they cannot access EDT this would hold up driving tests and the licensing process.

Q. How will ADIs with poor literacy or dyslexia give feedback?

A. Many ADIs will already have faced these challenges already in their careers; there is support organisations for many common learning difficulties which will offer support and guidance to ADIs.

Q. Where is this system already in place?

A. Combinations of formal lessons and complemented by accompanied driving is a feature of the learning process in many European countries such as Denmark and Norway.

Q. At the information sessions the speakers pointed out that this proposed system is based on research and best practice, whoever when asked where this system is already in place or what system it mirrors or is based on, there was no clear reply - perhaps you can clarify this for me?

A. The speakers both mentioned that the proposed GDL system was unique to Ireland and in particular that no one type would fit all cultures etc. The use of 'self analyses and Sponsors were mentioned as relating to the way in which learners learn best. It was also mentioned that this was evidenced in research and reports on how people do / should learn to drive. The Hermes report was specifically mentioned by name. Research about good practice driver training is available in the publication Young Drivers: The Road to Safety (OECD: 2006).

Q. Is normal ADI instruction to be continued?

A. Yes normal instruction is necessary alongside the EDT programme.

Q. How will the RSA prevent rogue instructors from delivering EDT?

A. The rogue instructor will not have access to an EDT logbook. This is one of the reasons that access to logbooks is being restricted to participating ADIs

Q. How long will the paperwork take?

A. 2 to 4 minutes should be sufficient in most cases to provide adequate feedback following the EDT lesson.

Q. ADIs are checked every 2 years, why implement EDT?

A. The purpose of EDT is to structure the learning in a way that provides additional practice covering certain critical driving skills that have been shown to cause accidents.

Q. If the learner is not satisfied with the feedback from the ADI, they can just move ADI?

A. Learners and ADI will in most cases build a strong relationship to support the learning process. Inevitably there will be cases where issues will come up that will mean that a learner or ADI will not feel able to continue and in such cases the learner may move to another ADI.

Q. Can the ADIs have a copy of the full LDT syllabus in advance of it being made available to the public?

A. It is planned to make it available on the RSA website so ADIs, learners and Sponsors can consult it if they so wish. A hard copy will be made available to ADIs

Q. How will Learners know about the full requirements of EDT?

A. The RSA promotion campaign will inform them- this will cover radio, press and internet as well as leaflets and information booklets on EDT. Also ADIs will be provided with leaflets and information booklets. ADIs should also inform the learner about the requirements during the initial contact, over the phone for example.

Q. Can ADIs access the drivers EDT record?

A. There is only one case where the ADI would need to access previous lessons completed by the learner and this is if the learner changes to another ADI and loses their logbook. In this case, the learner can access the lessons they have completed online and print a statement which will act as proof of lesson completion. The ADI can then stamp the logbook for the lessons they complete. The learner will bring the logbook stamped for the lessons they completed with the second ADI and the statement of previous lessons from to the driving test.

Q. How does the Check Test apply to EDT?

A. The rules around the check-test has not changed with EDT

Q. If the student fails the driving test must they repeat EDT?

A. There is no requirement to repeat EDT. There is one exception; this is where the learner permit has lapsed for more than 5 years.

Q. When the ADI has signed off on 12 EDT lessons, will there be an improvement in feedback provided from driver testers?

A. Yes, the RSA has been reviewing feedback which has proved quite successful and we intend to look at the benefits of expanding the feedback feature of the driving test.

Q. Who developed the syllabus and what are their credentials?

A. This was developed by the RSA taking account of -information from the Collision Factbook, advise was sought from international experts; the approach in other countries was examined and feedback from the consultation process was also taken into account.

Q. Can rogue ADIs act as Sponsor and get paid for it?

A. Sponsors are not entitled to ask for payment.

Q. Is there a cost for the stamp?

A. Stamps will be sent with the introduction pack issued free of charge to ADIs doing EDT

Q. If a Sponsor is in a car on an EDT lesson are they covered by insurance?

A. This is a matter for the vehicle insurer and if in doubt the owner should check this with the insurer

Q. Will media campaigns focus on the same cost of doing EDT versus a lifetime of driving and maintaining a vehicle?

A. In many discussions on driver training the RSA has contrasted the relatively small sums often spent on training as against the cost of buying and running a vehicle

Q. Will the RSA track learners who swap ADIs if the ADI will not deliver EDT to the learner who is not ready for a specific lesson?

A. The EDT IT system will track changes in ADI

Q. Why does the RSA not require the driver tester to examine the logbook to ensure the ADI is completing it properly?

A. The driver testing system is being used as a short term measure to ensure compliance with EDT. Once the EDT IT system is in place this will cease.

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