The penalty points system is underpinned by a government strategy to significantly reduce deaths and injuries on Irish roads and bring Irish road safety in line with international best practice

Ireland’s road safety record has improved dramatically over the past number of years. Since 1997 road deaths have dropped by almost 60% when compared to 2013.

The penalty points system has played an important role in this by incentivising drivers to modify their behaviour and drive more safely.

The RSA is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the new Government Road Safety Strategy “Closing the Gap 2013 – 2020”.

“Closing the Gap” means making Ireland’s roads as safe as the best performing countries in the world in particular the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Sweden. In order to achieve this Ireland must reduce deaths to 124 and reduce serious injuries by at least 30% by 2020.

The penalty points system has proved to have been an effective deterrent in changing road users’ behaviour for the better over the past decade. The system needs to be continuously reviewed and updated to keep ahead of driver behaviour trends and actions. It will be extended over the course of this Strategy to cover new safety related traffic offences.

Specifically Action 85 of the Strategy requires; Review and update the penalty point system to ensure relevant sanctions are in place, amended as required and new sanctions are introduced to cover new and emerging road safety issues with particular relevance to drivers and vulnerable road users.

We believe that the penalty points system plays an important role in this by incentivising drivers to modify their behaviour and drive more safely.

Mutual recognition and driver disqualifications

From 28 January 2010 Ireland and the UK will operate the European Convention on Driving Disqualifications. This means that a driving disqualification which is imposed to a licence holder in the UK who is resident in Ireland can be recognised here and the person will not be able to drive in Ireland. Disqualifications imposed in Ireland to licence holders resident in the UK will similarly be capable of being implemented in the UK. Only disqualifications for traffic offences committed on or after 28 January 2010 are subject to this.

Disqualifications resulting from the accumulation of penalty points will not come under this arrangement because of differences in the way the offences are dealt with in both countries. A project is underway to explore ways of including penalty points under this arrangement.