Higher penalty points on way for speeding, mobile phone use

Higher penalty points are on the way for drivers caught speeding or using mobile phones behind the wheel.

The points will rise to three on payment of the fine, and five on conviction (from two and four points).

New legislation will also enact roadside tests for drug-driving and makes provision for blood samples to be taken from unconscious drivers in hospital.

(The permission of the treating doctor will be required before the specimen can be taken and the results of the analysis will be revealed only when the driver can give permission.)

The law on hit-and-run incidents is being tightened and car clocking, where the odometer is brought back to show a lower mileage, will become an offence, punishable by a fine of €2,500 and/or three months in prison.

Tougher penalties are also being brought in for involvement in a hit and run. When a person flees the scene and does not offer assistance (if it is known that injury has been caused) a fine of €10,000 and/or seven years in jail will apply. If the victim dies, the penalty rises to a €20,000 fine and/or 10 years.

The new laws include a new 'Novice' status, complete with a required 'N' plate for the first two years of a first licence.

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