Endorsement of Points
The penalty points system provides for endorsement of penalty points on fix charged penalties and conviction in Court for road traffic offences. A wide range of offences attract penalty points. The legislation specifies the number of penalty points recorded on a licence by reason of an offence. Generally, the fixed charge penalty allows for a lower number of penalty points.
The general principle is that the penalty payments for a fixed charge offence are significantly less than on conviction in court. In many cases there is a one penalty point on payment of a penalty notice with three-points on conviction in court. In the case of more serious offences there are three point penalty points for payment on a fixed charge notice and five penalty points for conviction in court.
Where a person makes two or more fixed charge payments in respect of offences charged on the same occasion or is convicted of two or more penalty point offences committed on the same occasion the penalty points for one of the offences only are endorsed. They should generally be the larger number of points.
There are provisions to notify payment of penalty notice payments and convictions to the Minister/Department for recording on the licence. If a person cannot be identified at the time but is later identified there is provision for the later recording of the points.
Notice of the endorsement of penalty points is to be given to the licence holder who is to return the licence to the licensing authority within 14 days for endorsement. The failure to do so is an offence. Notice of endorsement is to be given.
Penalty points generally apply 28 days after notice is given. Exceptionally the period may be extended where there is an appeal and consent is given to extend time.
Points remain for a period of three years. A person with more than 12 penalty points is disqualified. Where 12 points are reached or exceeded an automatic six month disqualification from holding a driving licence apply.
The disqualification may require a Court hearing. Disqualifications for accumulating penalty points takes effect automatically without the need for a Court order.
A learner or novice driver whose penalty points exceeds seven is disqualified. The general principle is that points remain on the licence for three years and at the end of the period are removed.
Disqualification is for a six-month period and the licence is suspended accordingly. At the end of disqualification the points are removed, and notice is to be given to the driver concerned accordingly.
Where penalty points would apply, or a consequential ancillary or special disqualification is imposed on a person does not hold a driving licence the six months suspension operates separately and in addition.
Penalty points remain in effect a period of three years. Notification of persons affected of endorsement of penalty points is provided for. Where disqualification applies the licence holder must return the licence within 14 days. Failure to do so is an offence.
Penalty points general apply from 28 days after the notice provided for under the legislation. This notice is served relating to the penalty points. In most cases the fixed penalty points or payment of a fixed charge fine ranges from one to two. Penalty points on conviction rain range from four to five points.
Penalty Point Offences
The range of offences covered by penalty points are wide. They include such matters as driving without licences, certificate, tax, failure to stop when requested, driving without reasonable consideration. The more serious offences of careless driving and dangerous driving carry five points on conviction in Court and there is no provision for fixed charge penalty.
A wide range of offences in relation to the construction equipment and use of vehicles carries penalty points on payment of a fixed fine notice or conviction. This includes such matters as
- worn tyres
- excessive vehicle lengths, widths or loads,
- deficient wipers, mirrors, inadequate brakes, no safety belts,
- no crash home for motorcyclist, no safety belts for rear seat, no child restraint,
- use of mobile phone when driving,
- inadequate lights,
- improperly equipped trailer,
- failure to yield to traffic,
- failure to drive on the left,
- dangerous overtaking,
- breach of requirements at junctions,
- breach of reversing requirements,
- driving on footway motorcycle,
- failure to comply with Garda signal,
- failure to stop a vehicle at line, failure to yield right of way,
- failure to comply with signs,
- crossing of white line
- certain speeding offences.
The 2016 Act makes two changes to penalty points. It creates a new penalty point offence of using a trailer or semi-trailer with a maximum permissible weight of 3,500kg without a licence. The offence will carry
two penalty points on payment of a fixed charge and four penalty points on conviction in court. The Act amends the points for the offence of using a vehicle without a certificate of roadworthiness. This incurs five points on conviction in court but is not a fixed charge offence. It is intended to make it a fixed charge offence, and therefore the penalty points are amended by providing that, when it becomes a fixed charge offence, there will be three points for the offence on payment of a fixed charge.
The 2016 Act amends the fixed charge regime. Certain offences under the Road Traffic Acts and some other Acts may be declared by the Minister to be fixed charge offences.