Almost 37,000 people are on their fifth, or higher, provisional licence, according to a study conducted with The study also found that more then 65,000 are on their third or more provisional licence.

Deirdre McCarthy, Manager of, said: “There are 65,000-plus people on their third or more learner permit, and 36,814 of them are on their fifth or greater permit, some of whom are in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or 60’s. While a few may be late bloomers when it comes to driving, it’s apparent that many have been on the roads for years, without either taking or passing the driving test.”

In some cases, drivers can be waiting between 10 and 28 weeks between applying for and sitting a driving test.

Ms McCarthy add;
“In order to address this backlog, we would recommend that a system should be set up in order to limit the number of learner permits that motorists can carry, or at least, to ensure that learner permit holders are required to actually take, rather than simply apply for, the test before getting another permit. A much laxer system over the past decade, combined with seriously backlogged test centres, have resulted in staying on a provisional license becoming the established norm.”

Figure 1.1: Drivers on learner permits

The Advantages of Obtaining a Full Licence

Aside from the safety aspect of passing your driving test, there are also several financial benefits in doing so. If motorists were to move from learners to fully licensed drivers, they would save on 3 fronts:

  1. Test fees – to be approved for any learner permit from the 3rd up you need to have applied & paid for your test in the preceding 12 months. The cost of this would be €85 per year.
  2. Learner Permit fees – unlike a full licence which is valid for up to 10 years (under 60yrs), learner permits only last for 2 years (for 1st & 2nd permits), at which point they must be renewed, at a cost of €35.
  3. Fully licenced drivers pay significantly less money for motor insurance. Recent quotes we calculated revealed that moving from a provisional to a full license alone can reduce premiums by anywhere from 30 – 80%.

Three Steps to Reduce your Car Insurance

At we promote a three step process to decrease your car insurance premium.

The 3 simple step are:

  1. Complete all required driving lessons.
  2. Obtain your full license.
  3. Get some named driver experience – perhaps on a parent or partner’s policy.

For more details, read our latest blog post. are specialist car insurance brokers. We work with provisional, new and young drivers every day. Our dedicated car insurance specialists can get the insurance product that suits you at the best available price. Call 01 231 9310 or click here to get started with your quote.