Please click the links below to see the full list of penalty point offences. These also include the new list of offences which came into effect from 08 December 2014. You must have Adobe Reader installed to read them. If you don't have it, please click here to download it now.
How it works, why it matters.
Penalty points are designed to encourage safe driving and reduce casualties on our roads. This section explains how the system works and lists the offences that incur penalty points.
The penalty points system for driving offences was introduced in Ireland on 31 October 2002. The system was extended to insurance, seat belt wearing and careless driving offences in 2003 and 2004.
In early April 2006, the system was extended to a total of 37 offences, all of which are safety-related offences. Fixed-charge fines for motorists guilty of driving offences were also introduced.
These apply to a range of non-penalty point offences as well as penalty-point offences.
The fixed charge system has been extended to almost 60 offences.
From 1 May 2009 five additional traffic offences related to NCT and driving dangerously defective vehicles became penalty point offences. The total number of road-traffic offences attracting penalty points is now 42.
The law governing penalty points is the Road Traffic Act 2002. Click here to read it.
The aim of penalty points is to improve driver behaviour in Ireland and reduce the levels of death and serious injury on our roads.
Penalty point systems operate in a number of other countries, including Australia, Denmark, England and Germany. International experience has shown that penalty points reduce the number of road deaths.
How does the system work?
Penalty point offences are recorded on your driving licence if:
- You are convicted of a driving offence that attracts penalty points, or
- You are served with a fixed-fine notice for an alleged offence that attracts penalty points and you opt to pay the fine rather than having the matter referred to the courts
Any driver accumulating 12 penalty points within any given three-year period will be automatically disqualified from driving for six months. The driver is required to surrender his/her licence to the appropriate licensing authority within 14 days of receiving notification of the disqualification. It is an offence not to surrender a licence. It is also an offence to drive while disqualified.
Penalty points remain on the licence for a period of three years.
While penalty points are endorsed on your driving licence, the points do not physically appear on the licence. Instead, your points are recorded on your driving licence record. These records are held on the National Vehicle & Driver file operated by the Department of Transport.
If you have committed a driving offence that incurs penalty points you will receive a written notification informing you that points are being added to your driving licence. This notice will include details of your name, address, date time and location of the driving offence concerned. It will also confirm that you either paid the fixed charge for the offence or were convicted in the court of such offence.
The notice will also contain a date on which the notice was issued to you. This is the important date as the points will only be added to your licence 28 days after this date.
Payment of fixed charges.
Offences can be detected by Garda interception or, in the case of speeding offences, by speed cameras.
Where a Garda interception takes place you must show your driving licence to the Garda so that he/she can take your driver number. In most cases, a fixed charge notice will then be issued, and you have the option of paying the fixed charge or allowing the matter to proceed to court.
A person has 28 days from the date the fixed charge notice is issued to pay. Anyone who pays in the subsequent 28 days pays that amount plus 50%. Court proceedings are initiated if a fixed charge is not paid within this 56-day period.
Most penalty point offences also attract fixed charges, but a small number of offences result in automatic summons to court without the option of paying a fixed charge.
Where an offence is detected by camera, the fixed-charge notice will be sent to the registered owner. The Road Traffic Act provides that unless another person is identified as the driver it will be assumed that the registered owner was driving the vehicle at the time of the occurrence of the alleged offence.
There is an explicit requirement that where the registered owner of a vehicle was not driving or using the vehicle he or she must give the name and contact details of the driver of the vehicle. No payment should be enclosed.
When this information is received, the fixed charge notice will be issued to the named driver, on whose licence record the points will be endorsed, either on payment of a fixed charge or a court conviction.
What licences do penalty points apply to?
Penalty points apply to both learner permits and full Irish driving licences.
Since 2006 the way the penalty points system is run from an enforcement perspective has changed significantly. Most notably, the Garda fixed-charge payment system is now computerised and the Garda computer system is linked to the courts for the roll-out of the extended penalty points system. This has made the system more efficient and increased its deterrent value.