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  • DD Motoring: A decade of driving in Donegal

    first_imgTen years ago I captured this photo of Paddy Doherty at work with his team of Irish Cob working horses, Rose (25) and Tommy (3) at Burt, Co Donegal.Tommy is a retired building contractor from Burnfoot who spent his working life on the sites of England and Northern Ireland, he is pictured back on the fields that he worked in as a boy as he trains up his team of horses for the ploughing championship which he hoped to compete in Co Carlow at the end of the month in that year.Paddy Doherty at work with his team of Irish Cob working horses, Rose (25) and Tommy (3) as he gets in some training at Burt, Co Donegal many years ago. Photo Brian McDaidAfter the photo was taken , Paddy asked me if I would like to take the reins and plough with the two horses which I did and often treasure the thought of when I am driving less interesting cars on the road. Advertisement This week Rab C Nesbitt came to mind from that once famous Hamlet ad as he sits in a photo booth and tries to cover his balding head with his comb-over as he struggles with his adjustable seat and the timing of an automatic camera. Like him I ended up with three photos that I didn’t like!I was nearly ready for a smoke like Mr. Nesbitt at the end of my ordeal. As a photographer you would think I would be a bit better prepared for this but I wasn’t and today I was at the wrong side of the camera as my cross photo will show in my driving licence for the next ten years.On reflection this snap will probably look more like me when I am stopped and asked for my licence. Advertisement Bottom of the leagueMy old ten year licence was taken off me without any ceremony, I thought they might have said something but not a word, I thought at first they threw it in the bin behind the counter of the RSA driving licence centre at Boyce’s Corner in Letterkenny but it was heading into a photocopier.I once told someone that I never got a puncture on a car that I owned one time only to get a puncture the following day. So I don’t feel to happy saying that my old ten year licence was the first licence that I owned where I ended up at the bottom of the league, in that I hadn’t incurred any points or any offences! Hope this statement doesn’t come back to bite me!I can’t help but notice in places like the driver licence office how everyone looking to get their driving licence renewed are so cordial and gentle, myself included as they try to get through the process of collecting all the relevant proofs of identity of PPS numbers, utility bills and medicals for them with more than the standard car driving licence needed renewed. In less than a week my new licence arrived in the post. And with a bit of hope I will not need to visit the licence authority until 2027.Red mistWhat didn’t register on my “clean licence” over the last decade was the times of my near misses. I have seen enough of accidents as a fireman for over 25 years and most days I plan to get behind the wheel of my van and not end up becoming another stat of Irish Roads.One of my survival plans everyday is the space I leave between me and the car in front of me.That’s the space where I hope I will be able to react if the flow of traffic changes quickly and the faster the flow of traffic the bigger I leave the gap. The red mist comes into the equation for me when another motorist decides that my survival space is a waste nips into it while passing a line of traffic.The fight part of flight comes into action when this happens and for the majority of times that I drive well, it’s times like this that let me down for all the wrong reasons. I see others who decide that they are going to be upholders of the law and make out that they are doing nothing wrong as they drive slowly letting on that they don’t see the car behind them with a driver going off the head trying to get past their car positioned in the middle of the their side of the road. These are just two examples of drivers taking their personalities on to the road something that might never show up if these actions don’t end up in an accident.Aussie rules could benefit young Donegal driversWhen I started out driving I managed to clean the passengers wing of each of the three of the cars my father owned. A Hillman Avenger, A MK3 Cortina and Ford Escort Van all have my signature on their replacement wings. In them days I listened to no one, thought I knew it all though all these accident were just part of the learning process or was someone else’s fault.A diagram of a path for young drivers driver in Australia . Ireland could learn from this system.So the thought cross my mind after a chat with an Australian Policeman who was recently on holiday in Co Donegal who gave me an idea of the effort the Australians are doing to cut the amount of accidents by young people on their roads.The Australian guidelines are as follows; Passenger and night restrictions will be imposed on young drivers under changes to provisional licence laws in South Australia.Young P1 licence holders will be banned from driving between midnight and 5am unless granted an exemption.P1 drivers under 25 will be allowed to transport only one passenger aged between 16 and 20, excluding immediate family.The minimum provisional licence period will be increased from two years to three.Drivers will need to carry any exemption letter issued by their employer, volunteer or religious organisations, education institutions or sports associations, or other supporting evidence, to show police if they are pulled over.Road Safety in Australia said new drivers had been shown to be at the greatest risk on the roads.These initiatives are not about removing the freedom that comes with having a licence but rather ensuring young drivers have the best start.“Young drivers are at greatest risk of a crash in their first year of driving unsupervised, and South Australia has the second-worst fatality rate for the 16- to 19-year-old age group of all Australian states and territories.“If these changes had been in place over the past five years previous, they would have had the potential to prevent 22 deaths, 240 serious injuries and 1,397 minor injuries.”The L plate in Australia which is a P plate and prepares you driver better for the road.Motoring organisation, the RAA says changes will need to be made clear before they are enforced. Road safety says some young licence holders will need exemptions to let them work or attend sporting commitments.“For most people it won’t be too difficult. It’s likely to save potential crashes and possibly fatalities during this period when people are inexperienced, so I think overall it’s potentially a good outcome,” he said.“It’s also important that this will only apply to P1 drivers. Once they move on to their P2s, these restrictions on the curfew and the number of peer passengers are lifted.”Key changes•A passenger restriction for P1 drivers under 25, allowing no more than one passenger aged 16 to 20 for the duration of holding a P1 licence, excluding immediate family members (with an exemption system)• A restriction on driving between midnight and 5am for P1 drivers under 25 for the duration of their P1 licence (with an exemption system)• Extending the total minimum provisional licence period from two to three years will mean one year on a P1 licence and two years on a P2 licence• Removing regression to a previous licence stage following a disqualification period• The hazard perception test (on a computer) will be a requirement of graduation from learner’s to P1, rather than P1 to P2.Under the exemption system:• P1 drivers will be exempt from the passenger restrictions if they are required to carry multiple peer passengers during the course of their employment• P1 drivers will be exempt from the night-time driving restriction if they need to drive for employment, formal volunteer work, education, training or sporting purposes.I know a lot of people might think this is a very harsh ruling by the Australians but most of this was put in place just over three years ago now and it has reduced the numbers of their young drivers that have been involved in fatal car crashes.A view of a typical provisional driver’s Licence (P1) in Australia.I was reading this week another survey about the projected number of young drivers and passengers who will be killed on the roads by the end of this year. I think if even a part of the way Australians are working with their young drivers was deployed in Ireland it to would go a great distance to cut the carnage on Irish roads.Happy Motoring Folks.DD Motoring: A decade of driving in Donegal was last modified: July 19th, 2017 by Brian McDaidShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Australiabrian mc daidlicensemotoringlast_img read more