By Fiona Lee
I have weighed up the pros and cons of learning how to drive. Pros: Fun road trips, useful in dire emergencies, seeing drive – in films, freedom from relying on others and saving on food delivery fees.
Cons: A minimum cost of €660 to get a license, the cost of car, insurance and fuel thereafter.
I tend to walk to college, that won’t change any time soon, and I’m not alone in this debacle.
Let’s break down that hideous but all too believable figure of €660…
- The Driver’s Theory Test costs €45 to sit. You will also most likely need to buy a copy of The Official Driver Theory Test Questions and Answers, which will cost you about €20.
- Once you pass (hopefully on the first time), your learner’s permit will amount to €35. Your application for this will also need to include and eyesight report, which comes to typically €20. It often happens with these permits that they go out of date after two years, therefore forcing one to pay for a new one… that’s how they get you!
- Before you take a driving test, you must complete 12 official driving lessons. Prices vary from company to company, but the average comes to about €400. This only covers the minimum amount of lessons required, and does not consider the extra lessons that you will be begging for at the last minute when you are in a sheer panic for your upcoming test.
- The actual driving test costs a whopping €85, and statistics show on average across the country that just over half of potential drivers pass it on their first try. Prepare to pay for that more than once!
- If you pass… hurray! But you will now have to pay another spine – shivering €55 for your actual driver’s license.
- Now it’s time to look into insurance and a car, and you’re already out by €660 minimum. Feeling encouraged yet? Unless attending college or work involves a heavy commute, many young people in Ireland do not see driving as an immediate necessity, especially those living in cities where public transport is prevalent.
This is, of course, truly a pity, for no one doubts the value in learning this life – long skill. It is seen as one of those small steps you make as you ascend into adulthood, however you’ll now find more people in their mid 20s without licenses than ever before. Statistics show that the number of drivers aged 20-24 has shrunk in Ireland from 91.8% in 1983 to 76.7% in 2014, and that number continues to drop.
Don’t be confused, by no means do I mean to discourage you to make journeys of your own in your fabulous second – hand Golfs, by all means take the chance if you can! However, learning to drive in Ireland has become far more of a privilege than a basic and simple right. This is a dreadful reality for present and future generations, as the government tries to make profit on past necessities and mark them as future luxuries in the process.