Bronwyn O'Neill looks at why driving is just too expensive an option for most students.
Being a student is a pricey time for all involved. Between rent, fees and for some reason, your always only having a fiver to last you a month, adding driving onto your never ending list of payments doesn’t seem like the best thing to do.
Booking your theory test alone costs €45, so let’s hope you don’t fail it! Not to add that you also have to pay for a book or DVD to study for your test. Then onto paying for driving lessons which vary from company to company, but they certainly do not come cheap. You have to do at least twelve before you can apply for your test which is €85 and you’ll have to pay for the car if you’re using your instructor’s car. Don’t forget paying for a car, insurance and tax if you pass, if not it’s back to paying money for lessons and taking another test. The price for learning to drive, let alone get a car and pay for everything that comes with that, is a huge burden for students to bear.
However, it seems like having a car is something that is unavoidable in recent years. With the Bus Éireann strike on at the moment, many students who commute are stranded with no way to get to college every day. With a car, they could easily make it to class but unfortunately this is not an option for thousands of students across the country. With rising rents and shortage of student accommodation, many students are turning to commuting to and from college. So with Bus Éireann strikes now on, the possibility of getting rid of certain bus routes and the general unavailability of buses, it seems that students need cars more and more now.
There is of course also the question of when you have time to do your driving lessons. If you go to college five days a week like most people, and then spend your weekend working, which again most students must do, when can you find time for yourself let alone a driving lesson? The added stress of trying to learn to drive and pass another test may negatively affect students who are already under immense pressure from their college course.
Of course, I’m not saying driving is a negative thing. The freedom you get from being able to drive instead of relying on your parents or public transport is amazing. Being able to just go wherever you want, whenever you want is one of the best feelings in the world. But we can’t deny that the expenses that go hand in hand with driving are sometimes unbearable for students who already have so many things to pay.
It seems like students have enough to worry about with paying for driving lessons, or tax and insurance. On top of worrying about penalty points and what that could mean for future jobs as many jobs, not just driving jobs, require employees not only have a full license but a clean one.
Nowadays it seems like nothing can get done without having a car, so the need for a driving license for students seems more and more necessary. Although the costs may seem unmanageable for students, we may be left without a choice.