New Novice driver category to come into effect from 1st August
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) announced a number of increases in penalty point offences to take effect from 1st August 2014. These changes are being made under the Road Traffic Act 2014.
“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. For those who do not pay the fixed charge and are subsequently convicted in Court, the points will increase from four to five.
“As these offences are major contributory factors to road traffic collisions, increases in these areas are being introduced first. Further increases in penalty points for other road traffic offences will be introduced before the end of the year.
“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. The increases which I have signed into effect will impact on a number of areas which are very serious and can have fatal consequences. 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.”
The Minister also reminded people that, under the terms of the 2014 Act, the new category of Novice driver will come into effect from 1st August. The new measures mean that people who receive a first full licence from 1st August will be considered as Novice drivers for their first two years. Novices will be 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.
The seven-point limit will also apply to people who get their first learner permit on or after 1st August. A person who is already a learner will remain on the twelve-point limit while they are a learner and when they become a Novice. Likewise, a person already in their first two years of a full licence before 1st August will not be required to display an N-plate and will not be subject to the seven-point limit.
Novice drivers, like learners, will be subject to lower alcohol limits. They may not act as accompanying drivers for learners during the period they are Novices. These are important road safety measures that form part of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, aimed at improving how we train, test and licence learner and novice drivers, who are among our most vulnerable road users.
Ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am calling on all road users to exercise greater care and caution on the roads. These new measures will put road safety at the top of people’s minds and, I hope, bring about a greater culture of compliance with our life saving rules of the roads. It must be remembered that the penalty points system is a preventative road safety measure. If you don’t want to get points on your licence or a fine, then don’t speed, don’t use your mobile phone while driving and always wear your seatbelt, ensuring others in the car, particularly children are wearing theirs too.’