Before you can drive a car in Ireland (even under instruction) you need to 1st get your Learner Permit, also known as the provisional licence. Before you get this you must pass the Theory test. The Theory test, introduced in 2001, will test you on:
- The rules of the road
- Risk perception
- Hazard awareness and
- Good driving behaviour.
The test can be booked online at theorytest or by calling 1890 606 106 Monday to Friday 8:00am to 6:00pm.
Postal Applications are available at Driver Theory Test Centres and Motor Taxation Offices and should be sent to Driver Theory Test, PO Box 788, Togher, Cork (Please do not send your application form to the Driver Theory Test Centre).
To study for the Theory test applicants should obtain the latest edition of The Official Driver Theory Test Book and CD roms, available from all good bookshops. To pass you must get at least 35 out of 40 questions correct and considering this will teach you the basics of what you can and cannot do on the roads for your full driving lifetime it is worth making the effort to learn it all now. A common problem facing learner drivers is that they do not know who has the right of way or hesitate as they do not know what particular signs mean (such as filter arrows) so getting the basics right now will pay dividends further down the line.
The test itself is a computerised test using either a touch screen or a mouse and keyboard. A short practice section is available before you start to help familiarise yourself with the computer and you do not need to be computer literate in any way to pass. If you feel you made a mistake or changed your mind you can change your answer or come back to it later. At the end you also get another chance to review all answers and alter them if necessary.
If you have any difficulty with reading, there is a ‘voice over’ option that will read out the questions to you. Appropriate pictures or colours will indicate the different answers on the screen and you select your answer by touching the picture or colour. There is also the facility for the test to be conducted in Irish.
The test is scored automatically and results are made available to you immediately. If you have passed a certificate will be presented to you to confirm you have successfully completed the Driver Theory test and can now request your learner permit.
Obtaining your Learner Permit
Once you have passed the theory test you need
- get your eyes tested and have an eyesight report that allows you to drive.
- 2 Passport Photos
- Proof of ID such as copy of Passport or Birth Certificate
You must complete an application form D.201(available in Garda stations)
To apply by post, send all of the above to the address below and you should receive your licence within 2 weeks.
You cannot take a driving test for at least six months after getting your first learner permit.
Once you have received your licence you are free to start learning. It is highly recommended that you take professional tuition in order to learn good habits from the start and not pick up bad habits from family or friends. When choosing a driving instructor you must 1st ensure they are ADI registered.
In 2008 the RSA introduced a scheme whereby all Driving Instructors had to pass 3 exams and only those who reached the standard set are allowed to give driving tuition for monetary reward. A list of all Approved Driving Instructors is available on the RSA website (www.rsa.i). ADI’s also have an identity card which should be requested at the same time as showing your provisional licence.