New law to increase penalty points

Road Traffic Act introduces roadside drug tests, increased penalty points for speeding and heavy penalties for hit-and-run drivers

The Road Traffic (No.2) Act 2013 introduces other measures including roadside drug tests. File photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

The Road Traffic (No.2) Act 2013 introduces other measures including roadside drug tests. File photograph: John Giles/PA Wire

Tue, Feb 18, 2014, 19:36

Motorists convicted of using a mobile phone while driving will receive three penalty points under new legislation enacted today.

Penalty points for the offence will shortly rise from two to three after the Oireachtas enacted the latest Road Traffic Bill in the Seanad.

The Road Traffic (No.2) Act 2013 introduces other measures including roadside drug tests, increased penalty points for speeding and for not wearing seatbelts. The legislation will also allow for unconscious drivers to be tested.

The Bill also creates a new road traffice offence related for so-called ‘clocking’ and introduces tougher penalties for hit and run drivers.

The penalty for tampering with a car’s odometer (turning back the mileage) will be a fine of €2,500 and/or three months in prison.

“This Act focuses predominantly on the human factors in road safety by strengthening and extending the law in key areas. This includes a new category of novice driving licences, higher penalty points in key areas, and the testing of unconscious drivers for intoxication,” Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said today.

“The law on hit-and-run incidents has been tightened, and we have brought in a new offence of tampering with an odometer, commonly known as ‘clocking’ a vehicle. Gardaí will be able to conduct roadside impairment tests for drug driving on motorists.

The new legislation will see the introduction of fines and possible prison sentences for hit-and-run drivers. A person who flees the scene of an incident and does not offer assistance, knowing injury has been caused, will face a fine of €10,000 and up to seven years imprisonment.

In the even of a death resulting from such an incident a fine of €20,000 and/or ten years imprisonment will apply.

Penalty points will be increased for several offences under the Bill.

Speeding will now attract 3 points on payment of fixed charge and 5 on conviction (previously 2 and 4);

Mobile phone use will now attract 3 points on payment of fixed charge and 5 on conviction (previously 2 and 4);

Non-wearing of seatbelts will now attract 3 points on payment of fixed charge and 5 on conviction (previously 2 and 4);

Other offences such as non-display of an NCT certificate, which at present involve a court appearance, will attract 2 points on payment of fixed charge.