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Press Releases for 2003

Over 80 Fewer Deaths on Roads since Penalty Points Introduced
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9 October 2003
More than 59,000 Penalty Points Notices Issued in First 11 Months of Points System


The Minister for Transport, Séamus Brennan T.D. today (Thursday, 9th October 2003) released figures which show that the number of people who died because of road accidents in the eleven months since the introduction of penalty points was 81 fewer than in the same period in the preceding twelve months.

Minister Brennan welcomed the significant reduction in deaths but warned that last weekends tragic toll on the roads was a stark reminder of the need for all road users to exercise caution at all times, and particularly in poor weather conditions.

In the 11 months since the introduction of penalty points on 1st November 2002, some 59,712 penalty point notifications have issued to drivers. Of these, 56 drivers incurred penalty points on conviction in Court and were subject to notification of 4 penalty points.

Up to 30th September 57, 398 drivers have received penalty points as a result of paying fixed charges to the Gardaí and of those: 

  • 55,332 have received 2 Points
  • 1,949 have received 4 Points
  • 106 with 6 Points
  • 10 are on 8 Points and
  • 1 is on 10 Points.

The number of people killed as a result of road accidents during September was 18 - the lowest number of fatalities in any September since 1968 when records were first published. The number of road deaths during the first eleven months of the operation of the penalty points system was 297 compared to 378 for the corresponding period in the previous twelve months.

Minister Brennan said: "Since the introduction of Penalty Points 11 months ago there has been a noticeable, and very welcome, change in driver behaviour.  Serious injury is down more than 20%: spinal injuries have dropped 50%, and insurance claims are down by at least 20%.  People are slowing down. We see it on the roads every day.  The overall figures are encouraging. But it remains a daily battle to keep getting the message across." 

Minister Brennan added: "It is worth noting that 96% of drivers who have incurred penalty points have remained at the two point level. This indicates that the imposition of penalty points is, at last, having a positive influence on the behaviour of those drivers. There are some drivers who may have the misguided view that they can settle into a comfort zone of say 4 or 6 penalty points. That would be a mistake. When the full roll out of more than 60 penalty point offences taken place next year they could very quickly find themselves off the road for six months as persistent offenders will find points accumulating quite quickly".

The Minister said the Gardai have to date handed out almost 60,000 penalty point notices to drivers. "Enforcement has made a real impact on the ground but it will require continuing efforts on all our parts to make it a continued success".

Minister Brennan said the application of points to the three offences introduced so far-speeding, seat belts and no insurance- makes the threat of losing a driving licence more of a reality for drivers who persistently breach road traffic legislation.  The intended effect of system is to instill greater caution and responsibility in motorists and to transfer most of the enforcement of the system from the courts to an administrative process. Most importantly, the purpose of the system is to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.

"It should be remembered that the purpose of this system is not to put people off the roads", he added, "but to ensure a positive change in driver behaviour".

Note for News Editor

The attached document contains the following information

Table A - breakdown of penalty point notices issued on a county by county basis

Table B - statistics on fatal road accidents since 1998

Table C road fatalities for September 1968 - 2003


9th October 2003

Further information:    Tom Rowley             (01) 6041089   087 8124723/  Veronica Scanlan (01) 6041087 0876430622