GARDAÍ have seized 153 vehicles from unaccompanied learner drivers in Cork since the introduction of tougher laws last December.

The vehicles are among 1,600 seized across the country under the new legislation.

Since December 22, gardaí have the power to seize vehicles driven by unaccompanied learner drivers, as part of the Clancy Amendment to the Road Traffic Act. The legislation also enables the prosecution of vehicle owners who allow their cars to be driven by unaccompanied learners, a scenario that mostly targets parents of young adults.

The so-called Clancy Amendment was introduced in memory of Kilworth man Noel Clancy's wife Geraldine and daughter Louise, who were both killed in a collision three years earlier with an unaccompanied learner, Susan Gleeson.

Geraldine was driving Louise to Fermoy to catch a bus to Cork when the accident happened.

The accident took place just half a mile from the Clancy home outside Kilworth and Noel was among those who assisted at the scene of the accident.

In February 2017, an inquest found the Clancy women had both died from acute cardiorespiratory failure due to drowning following a road traffic accident.

The impact of the collision resulted in Clancys' Ford Focus being pushed into a flooded drain.

Noel Clancy did not realise that his loved ones were the victims until he spotted the number plate of the family's car after it was pulled from the flood waters.

Susan Gleeson, their neighbour, was given a suspended three-year sentence and banned from driving for 15 years at Cork Circuit Court in November 2016.

Mr Clancy has campaigned for tougher laws to ensure that learners are not on the roads unaccompanied.

He worked with Minister for Transport Shane Ross and the Road Safety Authority to secure the passage of the Clancy Amendment.

Before December 22 last, learners could be fined for driving if not in the presence of a driver who has a full licence, but there was no penalty for a car owner to allow their vehicle be driven by an unaccompanied driver.

A learner driver caught driving unaccompanied now receives two penalty points - or four, if challenged unsuccessfully in court. There is also a fine of €120.

A car owner could face a fine of up to €1,000 and they also have to pay a release fee for their vehicle.

The fee to release the vehicle is €125 for the first day and €35 for a whole or part of each subsequent day.

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