Seven new penalty point offences come into force

Seven new penalty point offences, most of which are to do with wearing a seatbelt, come into force today ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Of the seven, four concern the restraint of children within vehicles.

From today, drivers will be penalised for allowing passengers under 17 years of age to travel without a seatbelt, while children under and over the age of three must be properly restrained, and must not be placed in a rearward-facing seat in the front of a vehicle.

Other offences include bus drivers not wearing seatbelts, and motorists carrying goods exceeding the maximum weight permitted, with offenders set to be slapped with two penalty points and a €60 fine in seatbelt-related cases.

The introduction of the new categories brings the amount of penalty point offences up to 48.

Although the number of people who have received penalty points for not wearing a seatbelt has decreased, down from 29,000 in 2008 to 15,000 in 2011, statistics released by the Road Safety Authority recently revealed that 23% of drivers and 29% of passengers killed in road traffic accidents in the first half of this year were not wearing seatbelts.

AA Ireland director of policy Conor Faughnan believes that a majority of motorists are supportive of such measures.

“In the broadest sense most motorists are totally supportive of the new penalty points introduced. While the tightening of rules isn’t revolutionary, it does put more emphasis on the driver of the vehicle to ensure that all travelling within the vehicle are properly restrained,” he said.

The new rules

* Driver of car or goods vehicle not wearing safety belt — 2 points, €60 fine.

* Driver permitting person under 17 years of age to occupy a seat when not wearing safety belt — 2 points, €60 fine.

* Driver of car or goods vehicle permitting child under three years to travel in it without being restrained — 2 points, €60 fine.

* Driver of car or goods vehicle permitting child over three years to travel in it without being restrained — 2 points, €60 fine.

* Driver of car or goods vehicle permitting child to be restrained by rearward-facing child restraint fitted to a seat protected by active frontal air-bag — 2 points, €60 fine.

* Driver of bus not wearing safety belt — 2 points, €60 fine.

* Three instances that relate to the using of a vehicle which exceeds the maximum permitted weight — 1 point, €200 fine.


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