Drivers warned: 35 ways to lose your licence

THE motoring public was warned yesterday there are now 35 ways of losing a driving licence.

Transport Minister Martin Cullen predicted the major new extension of penalty points for traffic offences will help save lives on Irish roads.

He was optimistic the new measures would have the same dramatic effect on reducing the number of road fatalities as when the system was first introduced in late 2002.

The penalty point offences, coming into effect on Monday next, will target bad driver behaviour.

They will be added to the four existing offences - speeding, careless driving, no insurance and non-wearing of seat belts.

“The cumulative effect of all the activity that is taking place will make a difference. There are now 35 ways of losing your licence,” said Mr Cullen.

The minister emphasised the need for a permanent reduction in the number of deaths on Irish roads.

However, he admitted that there was “a bad start” to 2006 in terms of road fatalities when measured against the Government target of reducing the number of people killed in traffic accidents each year to below 300.

The number of road fatalities so far this year has risen to 95 following the death of a young man in his 20s when his car was involved in a collision with a lorry at Tyrrelspass, Co Westmeath, at around 8.30am yesterday.

Mr Cullen said motorists had nothing to fear from the extension of the penalty points scheme if they modified their driving behaviour.

However, he warned people who persistently committed road traffic offences that they would face losing their licence as well as increased insurance costs.

The minister claimed an increase in many existing fines from €19 to either €60 or €80 under the fixed charge system would also act as a deterrent against bad driving. The amount of the fine will be increased by 50% if payment is not made within 28 days.

A summons to appear in court will automatically be issued if the fine has not been paid after 56 days.

Among the offences which will result in penalty points from next Monday are dangerous overtaking, failure to obey traffic lights and parking a vehicle in a dangerous position.

The full list of offences incurring penalty points is published by the National Safety Council on page 5 of today’s edition.

Three new offences - driving while unfit, parking in a dangerous position and breach of duties at an accident scene - will result in a mandatory court appearance.

Other offences will incur one or two points on payment of the fine which will rise from three to five points on conviction.

Deputy Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said the outsourcing of the fixed charge system of paying fines would free up gardaí to concentrate on enforcement of the penalty points system.

More in this section