As you may already be aware, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport announced changes to the driver licensing system that apply to newly qualified novice drivers and first time learner permit holders.
These changes are important road safety measures that form part of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, one of the key actions in the current and previous Government Road Safety Strategies aimed at improving how we train, test, licence and protect learner and novice drivers.
The changes are as follows:
• From 1 August, N plates are a legal requirement for any driver who gets their first full driving licence in any category on or after that date.
• Any driver who receives their first ever learner permit on or after 1st August will be subject to a lower penalty point threshold, a total of seven penalty points rather than 12. This does not apply to anyone currently in the system, eg. people who already have a learner permit or full driving licence before 1st August.
• Non-display of N plates is an offence under traffic law and is punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a fixed change the failure to display an N-plate will carry 2 penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or 4 on conviction.
The purpose of the GDL system is to reduce the number of collisions, deaths and injuries among learner and novice drivers, particularly among the high risk 17 to 24 year olds, during the learning to drive period and period immediately after they pass their test.
Research tells us that novice drivers are most likely to be killed on our roads in the first two years after passing their test due to their inexperience. Therefore, these measures are designed to protect our most vulnerable road-users so that they can become safe, competent and socially responsible drivers, helping to ensure we have fewer collisions, fatalities and injuries on our roads.
Attached please find an FAQ document that will be made available through our website and issued to other key stakeholders (Gardai, Learners, NDLS etc).
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) are having a public awareness campaign to make other relevant stakeholders aware of these new requirements . For further information on driver licensing and learner drivers please visit www.ndls.ie