herald

Thursday 19 October 2017

Motorists face a penalty points hike at weekend

Motorists caught speeding over the bank holiday weekend will be slapped with an increase in penalty points.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said there that changes in penalty point offences will come into effect from Friday onwards.

"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," he warned.

Mr Donohoe said that: "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," he said.

Mr Donohoe said that the increases, which he has signed into effect, will impact on a number of areas that 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," he said.

Meanwhile, the new category of 'novice' driver will come into effect also from August 1.

The new measures mean that people who receive a first full licence from tomorrow will be considered as novice drivers for their first two years.

Novices will be required to display an N-plate during that time. In addition, they will face disqualification from driving for six months if they reach seven penalty points, as opposed to the current 12.

The seven-point limit will also apply to people who get their first learner permit on or after tomorrow. A person who is already a learner will remain on the 12-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 will not be required to display an N-plate and will not be subject to the new limit.

Alcohol

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.

Ahead of the bank holiday weekend, Mr Donohoe said: "I am calling on all road users to exercise greater care and caution on the roads."

He said that these new measures will put road safety at the top of people's minds and he hoped would bring about a greater culture of compliance with life-saving rules.

He added: "If you don't want to get points or a fine, then don't speed, don't use your mobile phone while driving and always wear your seatbelt."

fdillon@herald.ie

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