The Penalty Points system for driving offences in Ireland was introduced in 2002 primarily to save lives and prevent injuries resulting from road crashes and collisions.
Penalty points apply to both full and provisional Irish driving licences.
If a driver has a Non-Irish driving licence, although Penalty points accrued whilst driving in Ireland will not be recorded on the foreign licence, the driver’s details are held on a separate database for the purpose of recording penalty points. If that driver obtains an Irish driving in the future the penalty points will be activated on that licence.
It is extremely important that full details of any Penalty Points accrued are disclosed to your Motor Insurers at inception and subsequent renewal of a policy as failure to disclose any penalty points could render your policy invalid.
No driver in Ireland is allowed drive a vehicle while holding 12 current penalty points on their driving licence. If 12 penalty points accumulate on a licence record within any 3 year period a notice will issue informing the licence holder that they have been disqualified for 6 months and that they must surrender their licence at their local Motor Taxation Office. A lower threshold of 7 penalty points leading to disqualification applies to any driver taking out a first learner permit on or after the 1st August 2014 while he or she drives under any learner permit and subsequently during the first two years while he or she is driving under a full driving licence. Where a driver has a foreign licence a record will be created and the penalty points recorded on that record.As from the 17th April 2016 there are now 63 different road traffic offences which attract penalty points. Most of these offences will incur a fixed charges of between €60 and €120 however some could attract a fine of up to €2500 and/or a possible term of imprisonment.
- When do Penalty Points take effect?
- How Can I contest the Penalty Point Charge?
- Recording of Penalty Points
- How long do penalty points stay on your licence?
- Useful Links
Penalty Points Table
A list of penalty point offences as at the 17th April 2016 is available for download here.
When do Penalty Points take effect?
If you have committed a driving offence that incurs penalty points you will receive written notification of the fixed charge from the Garda Siochana informing you of the fact that the appropriate number of penalty points is being added to your driving licence together with the appropriate amount of fine applicable. This notice will be sent to the registered owner of the vehicle and will include the date, time and location of the driving offence concerned.
The Penalty Points will be added to your licence 28 days from the date the notice is issued.
In the case of all fixed charges, 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 the fixed amount plus a 50% increase. If a fixed charge is not paid within 56 days court proceedings are initiated.
How Can I contest the Penalty Point Charge?
If you pay the fixed charge, you are acknowledging that you committed the offence and accepting that the points will be endorsed on your licence record. You can opt however to go to court in which case, you have the opportunity to defend your actions. If you are acquitted the Penalty Points will be deleted from your driving record.
If you are convicted the penalty points are at least doubled as listed above and the fine increased. You are entitled to appeal a case to a higher court if you wish to contest the finding of the court. No penalty points will be endorsed on the licence record until all appeals procedures which are availed of by an individual, have been completed and notification is received from the Courts Service where a conviction is imposed.
Although penalty points are recorded on your driving licence record they do not physically appear on the actual licence itself. Driving licence records are held on the National Driver File operated by the Department of Transport .
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 in respect of an alleged offence that attracts penalty points and you opt to pay the fine rather than having the matter referred to the courts for determination.
If you are unsure whether you have any Penalty Points you can find out by calling the Road Safety Authority (RSA) on 1890 416141 with your licence details or alternatively emailing your query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How long do penalty points stay on your licence?
Penalty points stay on your licence for three years. That means they will remain on your current driving licence for a period of 3 years from the effective start date. Any period where your licence is out of date does not count as part of the 3 years.
Further information about penalty points in Ireland can be found by visiting the following Websites;
- The National Safety Council’s penalty points site,
- The Road Safety Authority
- The Department of Transport