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New drivers -- six points and you're off road

LEARNERS and new drivers will be put off the road for six months if they notch just six penalty points.

Tough new laws are set to come into force next summer in a bid to reduce the number of road fatalities among younger drivers.

The new laws will focus on both learner drivers and new motorists who have full driving licences for two years or less in a new road safety crackdown.

The Cabinet has decided to halve the number of penalty points that new drivers can incur that results in them being banned.

More experienced motorists must accrue 12 penalty points to get disqualified from driving.

The Road Traffic Bill to be published within weeks will see the total points limit halved for learner and newly qualified motorists.

Learners and newly qualified drivers will also face an increase in penalty points for speeding (up from two to four), mobile phone use (from two to three or four) and failing to wear a seatbelt (from two to three).



Novice

So learners and newly qualified drivers will be banned if they get caught speeding twice.

Drivers who pass their driving tests will also have to display an 'N' sign for 'novice' on their cars for two years.

Learners will get points if they do not display their L sign.

Today, Noel Brett of the Road Safety Authority said the measures are being targeted at the group of drivers who are most at risk of causing death or being killed themselves.

So far this year, 135 people have been killed on the roads -- down eight on the same period in 2011. Ireland is the sixth safest country in the EU for road travel but the aim will be to make Ireland the safest country in Europe for road users, said Mr Brett.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said: "The new Road Safety Strategy, which is nearing completion, will have new targets on reducing deaths and a focus on reducing injuries.

"The new Road Traffic Bill will include changes to the graduated driver system and learner drivers with six penalty points will be disqualified."

The bill is expected to become law by next summer.

aokeeffe@herald.ie


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