Learner Drivers Could Face Penalty Points

New penalty point offences are to take effect from today (8 December), the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has confirmed.

Under the new legislation, penalty points will include for a number of road offenses, while a further 14 offences will bring penalty points for the first time. In addition, two offences which previously involved a court appearance have now been brought within the fixed charge notice and penalty points system.

Included in the new system, are penalties for learner drivers who take to the road unaccompanied. In these cases, they will receive penalty points for the first time; similarly, they will also receive points if they fail to display an L Plate, while novice drivers to do not display an N Plate will also receive points. For each of these offences, the points will be two on payment of a fixed charge, or four on conviction in court.

For the offences where penalty points have increased include motorists who overtake dangerously, or those who fail to obey traffic lights. Offences brought within the fixed charge notice system are using a vehicle without an NCT, and parking in a dangerous position.

In these instances, the Minister has said it will now be possible to pay a fixed charge fine and receive lower penalty points than applicable on conviction in court.

Minister Donohoe said: "The fixed charge and penalty points system has played a major role in improving road safety in the years since its introduction. The adjustments and new penalty point offences target particularly dangerous on-road behaviour.

"Since the penalty points system began, there has been a dramatic fall in the numbers dying needlessly on our roads. However, 2013 showed the first increase in road fatalities for many years, and, unfortunately, we are on course for similar figures in 2014.

"The penalty points system played an important role in reducing road fatalities and improving safety from 2002 on. We need to keep up the pressure to reduce road deaths, and I am confident that the measures which I am introducing today will make an important contribution to achieving that goal."


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