Penalty points are being applied to the driving licence records of those convicted of speeding, insurance and seat belt wearing offences, and to those who pay a fixed charge to the Garda (in the case of speeding and seat belt wearing offences) in order to prevent the instigation of court proceedings.
It is now more than one year since penalty points for speeding were first introduced. At the end of December, 2003 more than 93,300 drivers have received penalty points since the introduction of the system in October 2002. The number of road deaths during the first year of the operation of the penalty points system was 333 compared to 409 for the corresponding 12-month period in the previous years. This represents the saving of 76 lives (nearly 19%) since the introduction of the system. Provisional figures for 2003 show 341 road deaths compared to 376 in 2002. At the end of December 2003, no driver had accumulated the 12-point threshold which leads to automatic disqualification.
The full application of the penalty points system will be achieved when the relevant IT systems being developed by the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform and the Garda are completed.