L-drivers winners on points for safety
Qualified drivers are far more likely to get penalty points than those on provisional licences.
The revelation bucks the popular belief that motorists on provisional licences are less law-abiding than those with full licences.
Official unpublished figures obtained by the Irish Independent reveal that 17pc of motorists who have passed their test and have full licences have got penalty points, compared with just 10pc of provisional licence-holders.
Since the system was introduced five years ago, one-in-six qualified drivers, or 311,000 drivers out of 1.8 million on full licences, have got penalty points.
However only one in 10 provisional licence-holders have so far got penalty points, a total of 44,000 out of 420,000, it has been learned.
The disclosure that provisional licence-holders are safer than those on full licences comes amid continuing furore over botched Government plans to put them off the road.
Gay Byrne, the Road Safety Authority chairman, has said that the day a person gets their full licence is one of the most dangerous they face on the road.
Provisional licence-holders account for just 44,000 of those who have got points.
The official figures also reveal for the first time that almost 150,000 drivers who got penalty points have had them removed from their licence and the "slate wiped clean" after the mandatory three-year period.
This means the drivers start off again with a clean licence with no points and their previous points cannot be taken into account for insurance purposes.
Of the 2.2 million motorists on Irish roads, some 1.8 million are on full licences while the remaining 420,00 hold provisional licences.
The figures for the first five years also show that a quarter of all drivers caught for penalty points have got off scot free.
A total of 124,852 of the 480,060 motorists nabbed for points offences escaped getting points because their driving licences cannot be processed here.
This is because they hold licences from the North, or from eastern Europe. Because there is no international agreement in place, penalty points cannot be applied to these drivers.
A total of 93 drivers have been disqualified, while a further 614 are just one or two points away.
A total of 3,426 points notices were issued to parents for not putting seat belts on their children.
So far some 489,060 drivers have received a total of 571,686 penalty points.
A series of highly critical EU reports have demanded more action by the Government to reduce the number of road deaths here.
So far this year 35 fewer people have been killed on our roads compared with 2006, the second best year on record.