Monday 19 February 2018

Penalty points put 2,500 off road

A garda checkpoint
A garda checkpoint

Gordon Deegan

More than 2,500 drivers have been put off the road after accumulating 12 penalty points since the legislation was introduced.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar confirmed that 2,086 drivers with full licences had been banned from driving after reaching 12 penalty points, with an additional 536 learner drivers also banned.

The penalty points legislation was brought into force in October 2002 and it took two years before the first drivers reached 12 points, with 18 put off the road in 2004.

The number banned quickly accelerated to 239 in 2007 and reached a peak in 2009, when 433 drivers were banned.

In a written Dail response to Tommy Broughan TD, Mr Varadkar revealed that the number of drivers banned last year fell to 299, with 35 banned so far in 2014.

Any driver who accumulates 12 points over three years receives an automatic six-month disqualification.

It is not clear that the drop in the numbers being put off the road is attributable to better driver behaviour or a decrease in garda enforcement.

But AA spokesman Conor Faughnan said penalty points "has been brilliantly effective".

He continued: "The penalty points system has been part of a suite of road-safety policies, but the number of road deaths has halved in the last 10 years.


"Last year, there was an increase in road deaths, which we are not happy about at all and would put down to a slackening off in garda enforcement."

Mr Faughnan said there was strong evidence that the penalty points system is working.

He said: "After receiving two penalty points, the evidence shows that drivers change their behaviour and after receiving four penalty points, drivers radically change their driving behaviour."

But he added that the absence of mutual recognition of penalty points systems between North and South was resulting in a zone of driving recklessness on both sides of the Border.

Mr Faughnan said: "You have evidence of drivers from the Republic driving with relative impunity in the North and drivers from the North driving with relative impunity south of the Border and this has to be addressed."

Irish Independent

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