My experience in schools and on the sports field have taught me that people progress at different rates. This is equally true of driving and so lessons are pitched at the level most appropriate for the learner and learners are allowed to progress at their own pace. No one is ever placed in a situation they can not handle. Early lessons are undertaken in quiet, traffic free areas to build up confidence in the use of the controls of the vehicle before venturing out into more complex situations.

The First Steps – Theory Test/Applying for a Learner Permit

Before you can learn to drive on the public roads you must first pass the Theory Test and then apply for a Learner Permit.

Theory Test – this tests your knowledge and understanding of the rules of the road, risk perception , hazard perception and driver attitude and behaviour. The test involves attending one of the testing centres and completing a test on a touch screen computer. The computer will generate 40 questions at random and you must answer a minimum of 35 questions correctly to pass. The question bank covers a broad spectrum but with some study of the Rules of the Road and some practice using the Theory Test book and CD, it should not prove a difficult task. To apply for the theory test you can apply online at

Learner Permit – a learner permit allows you to learn to drive on the public roads but there are conditions attached. The most important condition requires you to be accompanied at all times by a fully qualified driver who has held a license in the same category of vehicle you are driving for a minimum of 2 years. It is illegal to drive unaccompanied whilst still using a learner permit.

You can only apply for a learner permit once you have passed the theory test.

To apply for a learner permit you must make an appointment with the nearest National Driver License Service (NDLS)  office. For South Dublin this is located in the Leopardstown Shopping Centre. You will be advised as to what to take with you but usually this includes your theory test certificate, an eye test certificate, proof of identification and proof of address e.g. utilities bill or bank statement. Digital photographs will be taken at the centre on the day.

You must carry your learner permit with you at all times when you are driving, both when you are with your instructor and when you are practising with your sponsor.

Choosing an Instructor – hopefully you will decide to use CarL’s School of Motoring! If this is not possible, then ensure that you choose an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI). It is illegal for anyone who is not an ADI to instruct for financial reward. There is a list of ADI’s on the RSA website. Only a registered ADI has passed the 3 stage RSA examination process, has obtained Garda clearance and has been declared tax compliant.

Applying for the Test – application forms can be obtained from any Garda station or any motor tax office. They are also available at most test centres. You may also apply online. Before you can take the test you must have held your learner permit for a minimum of 6 months. Check the issue date on your permit and calculate the earliest date you will be allowed to take the test by adding 6 months on to that. If your learner permit was issued on or after 4th April, 2011, you must complete the 12 unit Essential Driver Training (EDT) programme.

Essential Driver Training Programme

This is a course for learner drivers who are issued with their learner permits on or after 4th April 2011. The course has been developed from the Learner Driving Training (LDT) syllabus. This gives a full and detailed breakdown of what is expected of a competent driver and can be viewed on the RSA website.

EDT is broken down into 12 units. The information booklet describes them as 12 one hour lessons. However, if you look closely at the expected outcomes from each unit (information is available on line at or information booklets are available at test centres or through your ADI) it should become clear that it is impossible to achieve these outcomes in one hour without either:


Undertaking a significant amount of study of relevant material and undertaking a significant amount of practice with a qualified driver (your sponsor)



Undertaking a significant amount of study of relevant material and undertaking additional lessons with your ADI in preparation for your EDT sessions.

It may therefore take more than 12 lessons to complete the 12 units of the EDT programme and additional lessons will incur additional payment.

At the beginning of your first EDT lesson your ADI should issue you with your Logbook. This is an important document and must be looked after carefully. Your ADI will stamp and sign the logbook after each EDT session provided all the material has been covered. An important part of the EDT programme is self-assessment and self-reflection and there is space in the logbook for the learner to reflect on the lessons and make comment. There is also space for the sponsor to record details of practice sessions and to comment on how things went.

The 12 units to be completed are:

  1. Car Controls and Safety Checks
  2. Correct Positioning (in light traffic situations)
  3. Changing Direction (observational techniques)
  4. Progression Management (in light traffic situations)
  5. Correct Positioning (in a variety of traffic situations – this unit also includes the turnabout, reverse around a corner, parallel parking and bay parking manoeuvres)
  6. Anticipation and Reaction
  7. Sharing the Road (interaction with other road users including pedestrians and cyclists)
  8. Driving Safely Through Traffic
  9. Changing Direction (more complex situations and the learner should be able to carry out some manoeuvres independently without prompting from the ADI)
  10. Speed Management
  11. Driving Calmly
  12. Driving at Night

Units 1-8 must be completed in order but units 9-12 can be carried out in any order at the discretion of the ADI in agreement with the learner and sponsor.

At the end of the EDT programme you may take the driving test but it is recommended that further practice and/or additional lessons are undertaken to fine tune the skills learned.


12 EDT sessions – €390-00*

1 hour lesson – €35-00

5 lessons – €170-00

10 lessons – €330-00

*Be advised that it may take more than 12 lessons to complete the EDT programme with additional costs.

Leaving Certificate

Best wishes to all leaving certificate candidates but especially those who drive with CarL‘s School of Motoring. I hope all goes well for you during the next 3 weeks.

9th Birthday for CSM

Today is CarL‘s School of Motoring’s 9th birthday. The first lesson was conducted on 26th October 2006 and since then hundreds of new drivers have been educated