New driving licence 'shuts loopholes'


A number of loopholes in the penalty points system have been closed off with the introduction of a new plastic driving licence, the Road Safety Authority has said.

Launching the new licence with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar this afternoon, the authority's chief executive Noel Brett said it would end a scam which effectively made it possible to cheat penalty points.

Mr Brett said that up to January 19th, when the plastic licence became effective, a person wishing to "lose" penalty points could apply for a replacement licence after claiming their original was lost.

When the replacement documents were being prepared the individual could provide a different form of their name, such as including an initial between the first name and surname, and penalty points applying to the previous licence might not have transferred across to the new licence.

However, Mr Brett said the new plastic licence now carried security features making this impossible.

Some 6,000 new licences were posted to their owners last Friday by the Road Safety Authority which is now also the new licensing authority.

Mr Varadkar today presented two of the new credit-card sized licences to Cork women Aoife Murphy from Blarney, and Daniela Reicke from Cork City.

The new licence is part of an EU directive aimed at upgrading and standardising licences across the EU. Previously, as many as 100 different types of licence were in operation throughout the union.

Mr Varadkar said the new licence would help "eliminate licence fraud, ensure that motorists are properly trained and licensed, and keep unlicensed drivers off our roads”.

“It's also recognised throughout the EU, so Irish road users will enjoy the benefits and protections which drivers already have in other EU countries," he said.