Speeding accounts for most penalty points issued in 2018

Speeding accounts for most penalty points issued in 2018

Additional reporting by Digital Desk

Almost two-thirds of all penalty points issued last year were handed out to speeding drivers.

New CSO statistics also show 15% of points were issued to people who were holding a mobile phone while driving, an increase of 2% on 2017 figures.

Almost 800 drivers on Irish roads had 12 penalty points on their licences at the end of 2018.

In total, there were 798 drivers with 12 points on their licence on December 31, 2018. Of these, 106 drivers received all 12 penalty points in 2018.

Under the penalty points system, once a driver accrues 12 points they receive an automatic administrative six-month driving ban at the end of which 12 points are removed from their licence.

Last year, there were a total of 177,092 penalty point notices issued, a decrease of 6.3% on 2017. Almost two-thirds of notices were issued in relation to speeding offences, with 112,096 notices issued.

There was a 7.8% increase in the number of notices issued for using mobile phones while driving and a 10% increase in notices issued to motorists driving without insurance.

Drivers with no NCT, no seatbelt and unaccompanied learners were among the most frequent reasons for issuing notices too.

Women were more likely to be found speeding, while men were given more points for using their phones behind the wheel.

Men were hit with almost double the amount of points than women - 98,993 as compared to 50,460 women.

The CSO also reported that 8.3% of motorists are driving on learner permits.

In 2018, there were 136,316 driving tests conducted, with an average pass rate of 52.5%. The number of tests conducted in 2018 was up by 8.3% from 2017.

The average wait time for a driving test decreased from 13.6 weeks to 11.4 weeks, but times vary widely in different parts of the country.

Thurles and Kilrush have the longest wait times of any test centres in the country at 20 weeks, with Shannon, Mallow, Tipperary, Ennis and Gorey all having an average wait of 18 weeks.

Sligo, with an average wait of six weeks, is the shortest in the country.

Meanwhile, half of all tests fail their NCT on the first go, though 95.7% of cars pass after one or more tests.

The information also showed that each vehicle travelled, on average, 17,422 on Irish roads last year. Again, figures differ depending on geography, with drivers in Roscommon travelling an average of 20,301 km in private cars in 2018, the highest in the country.

Eight counties - Cavan, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Monaghan, Offaly, Tipperary and Westmeath - drive more than 19,000km on average, with Cork (16,665km), Dublin (14,027km) and Wicklow (16,906) driving the least, on average, in the country.

The figures also found that bus services throughout the country carried more than 226 million passengers last year, a rise of 4.2% on 2017's figures.

Dublin Bus carried more than 143 million passengers over the course of the year, with October the busiest month.

48 million passengers travelled by rail in 2018, while just under 42 million people travelled on the Luas.

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