Dumb it down
What's the story with the latest penalty points offences?
With a raft of new penalty points offences coming into force at midnight, here’s everything you need to know.
So, what are the authorities cracking down on now?
Well, the main focus of the seven new offences coming into force at midnight tonight are related to seat belt usage.
Really, surely everyone wears seat belts these days?
Incredibly, no. According to figures quoted in the Irish Independent, 23pc of drivers and 29pc of passengers that were killed in the first six months of 2012 were not wearing belts. The Garda also claim to be catching 1,300 people a month not wearing their belts.
What? That’s shocking. So, what are the latest additions to the penalty point system?
If you are caught without a belt on you will be hit with two penalty points and a €60 fine. That will go up to four and €90 if you challenge it and lose.
Sounds fair. Anything else?
Yep, they are also making it an offence to have a child under three in a car without them being safely strapped in.
People are driving around without their kids securely fastened in?
Seems so, but now points will be issued if the seat the child is in is not suitable for them. You will also get points if you have a child seat, facing rearwards, in the front seat. Do this and you will get two points and a €60 fine and, as above, that will go up to four points and €90 if you take it to court and lose.
And if the kid is facing forward and properly strapped in?
Good to know. Any other new laws?
Yep. For the first time ever bus drivers and truckers will have to wear belts.
How did they escape up to now?
The rules up to know exempted them as seat belts had not been mandatory on all vehicles. It now is and the law can be brought in.
Any non-seat belt laws?
Just the one this time. If your vehicle exceeds the weight that you're permitted to drive then you will get one point.
We imagine that won’t be inflicted on the average driver?
No, we doubt it.
So how many offences are there now?
That’s 48 in total now on the books for penalty points, and you can see them all here. And these new additions have been dropped just in time for the Bank Holiday weekend, a timely reminder before what can be a dangerous time on the roads.
Better be careful out there then?
Yep, that’s the idea. Drive safely.