What is Essential Driver Training (EDT)?

Essential Driver Training (EDT) is a structured training programme for learner drivers. It gives new drivers a stronger foundation of training on which they can build their knowledge and skills. The lessons cover the most important skills, knowledge, and behaviours needed to become a safe driver and draw on our knowledge as to the major causes of collisions in Ireland. You will become a more competent driver by taking the EDT programme together with any further driving instruction as agreed with your Approved Driving Instructor (ADI) and plenty of practice with your Sponsor.

A Sponsor is someone who helps and supports you, the learner driver, as you improve your driving skills by being accompanied by them during practice drives. The Sponsor you choose to help you must hold a full license for two years and have lots of driving experience

Is normal ADI instruction to be continued?

Yes. Lots of practice with your Sponsor and professional learner lessons with your ADI is necessary alongside the EDT programme. Unless you have an amount of prior driving experience or have access to a vehicle to practice in between EDT lessons it will not be possible to complete the EDT programme and reach Driving Test standard with just 12 hours of driving experience.

Do I need to do EDT?

If your first learner permit for a car (code 991 in the column headed restrictions/information) is dated on or after 4th April 2011(look at the date in the column headed ό/from), you must complete EDT. All learner drivers must have completed EDT before they can sit a driving test.

Why do I need to do EDT?

The purpose of EDT is to save lives by maximising the safety of inexperienced drivers and helping them to develop the skills and confidence needed to share the road safely with others. The introduction of EDT for learner drivers is part of the Road Safety Strategy 2007-2012 and is one of a range of measures announced by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) last September to enhance the way that drivers are trained, tested and licensed in Ireland as part of a new Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system.

If my first learner permit is dated on or after 4th April 2011 but I am an experienced driver e.g. I have an American licence, do I need to do EDT?

Yes, you need to complete EDT before taking a driving test.

How long does EDT take to complete?

EDT for learner drivers is a 12 hour course broken into 12 different one hour lessons. It is recommended that you allow two weeks between each lesson so that you can take any further driving lessons needed and do the required reading and necessary practice.

Who delivers EDT?

EDT is delivered by Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) and a list of ADIs is available in the ADI section of the RSA website. You can choose any ADI that provides EDT in licence category B. Your ADI will give you a logbook in which your lessons and progress will be recorded. If you need to, you can change ADIs.

Must I take all of my 12 EDT lessons with one ADI?

You can choose to change ADI at any point in the EDT programme. It is not a requirement that you complete the EDT programme with one ADI. Once the ADI stamps your logbook upon completion of the lesson you can move to another ADI for your next lesson if you so wish.

Where can I find an ADI?

There are a large number of registered ADIs for you to choose from. A complete list is available here in the ‘Find an Instructor’ section. As there are numerous ADIs, the RSA would advise phoning around to get the ADI offering best value for money. Check our website to make certain your ADI can deliver the EDT syllabus.

Is there a theory lesson as part of EDT?

Most of the lessons are practical but your ADI will show you how to use the vehicle controls and explain the reasoning behind the instruction and guidance being given to you.

How much will EDT cost?

The RSA does not set the charges for EDT lessons. It is down to individual ADIs to set the fees for their services. However if you ring around and ask several ADIs what they are charging before you start your lessons, you should have a good idea whether or not you are getting good value for money.

Do I have to supply my own car?

If you have a car, you will benefit from learning in the car you are familiar with and that you will be doing your practice in outside of the formal lessons. This is something you should discuss with your ADI as the ADI might wish to use a dual controlled vehicle at least for the first few lessons.

Is there an exam at the end?

No, there is no exam at the end of EDT. However, each lesson has specific content that must be covered as part of the lesson. You can only achieve expected outcomes from each lesson by listening carefully to your ADI and taking the necessary further lessons and practice in addition to the EDT programme. Your ADI will plan each EDT lesson to achieve the expected outcomes listed and will provide you with both verbal and written feedback at the end of each lesson. Your logbook contains a page where you can analyse your own performance and make notes of things to ask your ADI the next time you meet.

Do I need to take a practical driving test?

Yes, you will need to take a practical driving test before you can legally drive on your own. Your ADI can advise you when to take your practical driving test but you cannot take your driving test within six months of getting your learner permit. EDT is just part of your training and you will need to get more experience by taking extra lessons and practising what you have learned in EDT with your Sponsor before you take the test.

What happens when I have finished the EDT course?

Your ADI will have stamped each EDT lesson as completed inside your logbook. Keep it safe as you may need to show it to your driver tester on the day of your test. Remember, your training does not finish with EDT so continue to practise your driving with your Sponsor and taking extra driving lessons until you can take your test.

What if I lose my logbook?

Contact your ADI who will be able to issue you a replacement logbook. Be advised that there is a fee for replacements and details will be available from our website.

Where can I find out more about EDT for cars?

There are a number of  documents which can be found on our EDT page. The LDT Syllabus (PDF) sets out the entire range of driving skills, and behaviours a safe competent driver needs. The EDT Syllabus (PDF) details the twelve lesson EDT programme. The learner driver EDT Information Booklet (PDF) has information for a learner taking the EDT programme.

Is it an offence to drive a car before I finish EDT?

It is not an offence as long as you are complying with all other regulations (Insurance, car tax, NCT, accompanying driver etc) but you will have to complete EDT before you can sit your driving test.

Do I have to take the EDT lessons in the sequence they are set out?

Lessons 1–8 are set out in a particular order so that your learning is progressive and you should take them in that sequence. Lessons 9-12 are more flexible but be advised by your ADI when is the best time to undergo these particular lessons. Each EDT lesson requires preparation. This means that you must practise certain elements of your next lesson before you meet your ADI for your lesson. Your ADI will advise you what preparation is necessary including any recommended reading, in order to get the most out of each lesson. Details of the preparation necessary are also available in the EDT information booklet.

How do I manage EDT with normal everyday practice?

EDT should be built upon in the practice you take with your Sponsor. Every lesson should be followed by at least three hours’ practice on the aspect covered in your lesson. Your ADI will give you feedback on your progress so you know what driving skills to concentrate on. The RSA has developed a syllabus setting out the skills and behaviours that a competent driver should be able to demonstrate. This should help you, your ADI and your Sponsor to manage your learning effectively.

Does my Sponsor need to be an ADI?

No. However, he or she can be an ADI if you wish. The important thing is that your Sponsor should be a responsible person who will help you learn to become a better safer driver. The Sponsor must hold a full licence for two years and have lots of driving experience. Ideally your Sponsor should discuss aspects of your practice and progress with your ADI.

Can I change Sponsor?

Yes, any person who fulfills the criteria to be a Sponsor may act in that role. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the person who is acting as your Sponsor. See details of the criteria for being or choosing a sponsor inside your logbook.

Will this ultimately put an extra cost on learner drivers attempting to obtain a full licence?

Obtaining a driving licence is a privilege not a right and must be something that is earned. As inexperienced drivers, learner drivers are exposed to greater risks when using the roads. The Government’s Road Safety Strategy has identified that the best way for a learner driver to develop the necessary hazard perception skills and the confidence needed to share the road safely with others is through the introduction of a Graduated Licensing System. Just one of the elements of this new GDL system is the requirement to take mandatory lessons with Approved Driving Instructors that have been regulated by the RSA to ensure a consistent standard of tuition is delivered to learner drivers. A learner driver, or indeed their parents, may spend thousands of euro on buying a car so investing money in training to ensure they become safe drivers is a very important.

The RSA views the outlay for mandatory lessons as an investment, indeed a long term investment in their safety. You wouldn’t be let near a machine in a factory without proper training. A car, which is possibly a lethal weapon, should be no different.

Lastly the RSA does not set the cost of driving lessons. It is down to individual Approved Driving Instructors to set the fees for their services. It should also be noted that it is a very competitive market and learner drivers should shop around to find value for money. 

Is EDT a way for ADIs to impose extra costs on the learner driver?

EDT is largely based on activities already carried out by the ADI. Each lesson has a specific objective and expected outcomes. Getting a driver competent takes considerable time and will only happen through instruction and practise over a period of time. The ADI is expected to deliver the EDT lesson and meet the minimum contents for the lesson and give feedback to the learner. EDT is a 12 hour programme broken down into 12 different one hour lessons. It is recommended that the learner driver allows two weeks between each EDT lesson so that they can complete the necessary practice and take any further driving instruction.

If a learner fails the driving test must they repeat EDT?

There is no requirement to repeat EDT. There is one exception; this is where the learner permit has lapsed for more than 5 years.

Can ADIs access the drivers EDT record?

There is only one case where the ADI would need to access previous lessons completed by the learner and this is if the learner changes to another ADI and loses their logbook. In this case, the learner can access the lessons they have completed online and print a statement which will act as proof of lesson completion. The ADI can then stamp the logbook for the lessons they complete. The learner will bring the logbook stamped for the lessons they completed with the second ADI and the statement of previous lessons from www.rsa.ie to the driving test.

Is EDT applicable to first time learner permit holders in EB?

No. It applies to first time learner permits issued on or after 4th April in category B.

Must those on a foreign licence complete EDT to sit their driving test?

Yes, they are first time learner permit holders and must do EDT; almost all of these drivers will be used to driving on the right and will benefit from the EDT programme.

Is it mandatory to have a Sponsor?

No, however learner drivers are expected by law to be accompanied-the role of the Sponsor builds on this requirement. 

Can the EDT programme be completed in less than 6 months?

Yes, it can. However the guidance is that to get best advantage from the EDT programme and to take enough practice plenty time should be allowed between lessons.