Penalty points increases and Novice driver category set to come into effect

Increases in the number of penalty points imposed on drivers for various offences will come into effect this week.

From Friday, August 1, changes to penalty points legislation made under the Road Traffic Act 2014 will come onstream, while the new 'Novice' category of learner driver will also become actitve.

“From Friday, penalty points for speeding, holding a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seat belt or not using child restraints will increase from two points to three, provided the fixed charge is paid within the stipulated period," said Transport Minister Pascal Donohoe.

"For those who do not pay the fixed charge and are subsequently convicted in court, the points will increase from four to five.

The minister also said that further increases in penalty points for other road traffic offences will be introduced before the end of the year.

Meanwhile the new category of Novice driver will also come into effect.

From Friday onwards, anyone who gets their first full licence will be considered as Novice drivers for their first two years and required to display an N-plate during that time.

Under the terms of the Act, Novices will face disqualification from driving for six months if they reach seven penalty points, as opposed to the current twelve.

Novice drivers, like learners, will be subject to lower alcohol limits and a limit of seven penalty points before disqualification (as opposed to 12 for full licence holders). They may not act as accompanying drivers for learners during the period they are Novices.

More about the Novice driver category

“The job of making our roads safer involves a wide range of measures, and the penalty points system has proven to be an important component in this process," Minister Donohoe said.

"We have seen a culture change in recent years in attitudes to drink driving and I want to see the same change in attitude where speeding, using phones while driving and wearing seat belts are concerned.

"These measures will help to reinforce that change.”

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