Learner drivers who drive unaccompanied and fail to display their L plates will receive penalty points for the first time under new rules being introduced by the Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Mr Donohoe says motorists who overtake dangerously or fail to obey traffic lights will receive more severe penalties as part of a major clamp down. Mr Donohoe told reporters that the authorities were targeting particularly dangerous behaviour. Minister Donohoe said: “We need to remember that the main purpose of the penalty points system is to concentrate minds and, ultimately, change driver behaviour”. “Learners must be accompanied and must display an L plate as a condition of their learner permit, and should remember that as learners they should exercise caution at all times. The L plate is as much a reminder to them as to other road users.”
It is understood that the new offences will include learner permit holders driving unaccompanied or failing to display an L plate, and failure by novice drivers to display an N plate. It is thought that Two penalty points will be imposed on the failure to display plates and driving unaccompanied. Under the new rules penalty points will be increased for dangerous overtaking, failure to stop a vehicle before a stop sign and failure to obey traffic lights.
The number of points will be increased for nine offences, and a further 14 will attract points for the first time.
Minister Donohoe also said: “Since the penalty points system began, there has been a dramatic fall in the numbers dying needlessly on our roads. However, 2013 showed the first increase in road fatalities for many years, and, unfortunately, we are on course for similar figures in 2014. “The penalty points system played an important role in reducing road fatalities and improving safety from 2002 on. We need to keep up the pressure to reduce road deaths, and I am confident that the measures which I am introducing today will make an important contribution to achieving that goal.”