Details of driving offences to be released to insurers
A new law giving motor insurers access to information on the type of offences for which drivers have incurred penalty points is likely to see many motorists pay bigger premiums.
The measure, being announced by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar today, means insurers will soon be able to see for which of 13 serious offences points have been awarded.
While in the past access to the Department of Transport’s national vehicle driver file only enabled insurers to verify the number of points a driver had, new visibility will show if the driver has committed a serious offence.
The move, included under the Road Traffic Act 2010 and signed into law last year, will be implemented across insurance companies on a phased basis over the coming months.
“This is about road safety, and rewarding motorists for safe behaviour,” Mr Varadkar said.
At the moment, insurance companies apply loading on an insurance policy according to the number of penalty points, rather than the nature of the offence.
In future, they will be able to take the seriousness of offences into account in applying this loading.
Drivers with points for drink-driving, speeding, holding a mobile phone, failing to wear a seatbelt and nine other offences can expect to see their premiums rise according to Axa chief executive John O’Neill.
“Axa welcomes all road-safety initiatives which will contribute to the downward pressure on deaths and serious injuries on our roads,” Mr O’Neill said.
“Visibility of penalty points to insurers should mean that the riskiest drivers can be identified and asked to pay more.”
A spokesman for FBD said while it was too early to tell what impact this change would have its premiums were “priced according to risk, ensuring that safe drivers are rewarded for the care they show in driving”.
There are currently 2.67 million licensed drivers in Ireland, of whom 487,000 have penalty points.
Some 80 per cent of these drivers have fewer than four points.
The Department of Transport says the Irish Insurance Federation has paid part of the cost of the new electronic sharing system, which it says is compliant with data protection law.