About GDL

About GDL 

Graduated Driver Licence System (GDL)

Find out what the graduated driving licensing measures are, why they have been designated and who they will affect.

New Laws

New laws are being introduced to strengthen the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL)* system in Ireland on 22 December 2018.

While the existing fixed charge and penalty point arrangements continue to apply to learner drivers detected driving unaccompanied, new penalties will also apply to the vehicle owner.

Key points:

  • A vehicle being driven by an unaccompanied learner driver can be detained by Gardaí
  • The owner of a vehicle who allows an unaccompanied learner or unlicensed driver to drive their vehicle is liable to have their vehicle seized by the Gardaí and could face a fine of up to €1,000.
  • The existing fixed charge and penalty point arrangements continue to apply.
    • A learner driver detected of driving unaccompanied faces an €80 fine and two penalty points if paid within 28 days, a €120 fine and two penalty points if paid within the next 28 days and €120 and four penalty points if convicted in court.
  • A lower threshold of penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first full driving licence.

*Under the GDL system, learner drivers must always be accompanied by a fully qualified driver (not a novice).

What is a Graduated Driver Licensing system?

Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a programme of staged licensing, with privileges gained over time, that aims to increase road safety by providing new drivers the opportunity to gain driving experience, skills and maturity. GDL systems generally cover a range of measures that apply to learner drivers and to novice drivers, for a period of two years, after passing a driving test.

The RSA has already begun to implement a GDL programme in Ireland and is now implementing a second phase of actions. The measures involve the introduction of mandatory lessons, Initial Basic Training (IBT) for learners taking out motorcycle permits (on or after 6 December 2010) and Essential Driver Training (EDT) taking out car permits (on or after 4 April 2011).

Why is GDL important?

The RSA has studied the effectiveness of graduated driving licensing systems internationally, and found that GDL programmes result in an increase in driving skills and a significant decrease in fatal accidents.

With the aid of a detailed public consultation process, the RSA has sought to introduce measures that maximise the safety of inexperienced drivers and other road users, whilst seeking to avoid penalising responsible, compliant novice drivers.

How does GDL affect me?

The modernisation of driver training and licensing is a key foundation stone of the Government’s current Road Safety Strategy.
The first phase of the modernisation project has been completed and an additional nine actions have been announced. These will affect:

Learner drivers
If you have yet to acquire your learner permit, in the future, in order to pass your test, your accompanying driver will be more involved in your training and you will have to take compulsory driving lessons. Learners preparing for their driving test should also be aware that changes are being made to the driving test itself.

Novice drivers
In Ireland, in the first two years of holding their full license, individuals will be classed as ‘novice drivers’.
Read on for applicable date and more complete information about new GDL measures.