Learner drivers face penalty points if unaccompanied

Changes to the penalty points system to affect holders of L-plates, novice drivers and others

Penalty points are to be increased for nine motoring offences and a further 14 offences will attract penalty points for the first time from today.

Changes to the penalty points regime announced by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe will also see motorists being given the option of taking penalty points and avoiding a court appearance for driving without an NCT and parking dangerously. Up to now these offences involved a mandatory court appearance.

The new penalty point categories include:


Learner permit holders driving unaccompanied or failing to display an L plate;


Failure by novice drivers to display an N plate.

For each of these offences there will be two points on payment of a fixed charge or four on conviction in court.

Among the offences for which the penalty points have increased are:


Dangerous overtaking;


Failure to stop a vehicle before a stop sign;


Failure to obey traffic lights.

The full list also includes a range of offences such as failing to drive on the left and issues for those who alter or modify vehicles. The offences brought within the fixed-charge notice system are using a vehicle without an NCT and parking in a dangerous position.

It will be possible to pay a fixed-charge fine for these and get penalty points as an alternative to going to court.

Mr Donohoe said that the fixed-charge and penalty points system had played a major role in improving safety on our roads in the years since its introduction.

“However 2013 showed the first increase in road fatalities for many years, and, unfortunately, we are on course for similar figures in 2014,” he added.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist