2014 News

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08 December 2014

Minister Donohoe announces new penalty point offences & penalty points adjustments

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has announced a number of adjustments to penalty points and new penalty point offences to take effect from today (Monday).  These changes are being made under the Road Traffic Act 2014.

Penalty Points will be increased for 9 offences, and a further 14 offences will now attract penalty points for the first time.  In addition, 2 offences which previously involved a court appearance have now been brought within the fixed charge notice and penalty points system. 

The new penalty point offences include learner permit holders driving unaccompanied or failing to display an L Plate, and failure by novice drivers to display an N Plate.  For each of these offences, the points will be two on payment of a fixed charge or four on conviction in court.  Among the offences for which the penalty points have increased are dangerous overtaking, failure to stop a vehicle before a stop sign and failure to obey traffic lights.  The offences brought within the fixed charge notice system are using a vehicle without an NCT and parking in a dangerous position.  It will now be possible to pay a fixed charge fine for these and receive lower penalty points than applicable on conviction in court.

The penalty points system was first introduced in 2002, and deliberately focuses on offences which can have a direct impact on road safety.    The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport carried out a review of the penalty points system in 2012 and the adjustments being brought into force today result from this review.  They were given legal effect in the Road Traffic Act 2014. 

Speaking today, 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.  This includes learners driving unaccompanied, people disobeying traffic lights and dangerous overtaking.  I know that some people may question the penalties for driving without an L Plate or N Plate.  We need to remember that the main purpose of the penalty points system is to concentrate minds and, ultimately, change driver behaviour.  Learners must be accompanied and must display an L–Plate as a condition of their learner permit, and should remember that as learners they should exercise caution at all times.  The L Plate is as much a reminder to them as to other road users.  The N Plate is similar, and should remind road users that, even when they have passed their driving test, they still have much to learn and experience to gain.’

“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.”

For a full list of changes to Penalty Points as of 8 December 2014 please visit http://www.rsa.ie/RSA/Licensed-Drivers/Penalty-points/Types-of-offences/

There is also a breakdown of the new penalty point offences under the penalty points section of our website.

 


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