The Penalty System
With effect from 1st July 2006 all licence holders who had held their licences for more than 3 years were allocated a total of 12 points; drivers who had 3 years or less driving experience were allocated the lower amount of 8 points.
The system operates as follows:-
Points are deducted from licences of drivers caught committing a variety of driving offences, the amount deducted corresponding to the gravity of the offence. Points can be earned back under the ‘Good Driver’ scheme, but this takes some time. The maximum amount of points any driver may hold is 15. This is achieved by driving for three years without committing an offence earning the licence holder a bonus 2 points, followed by a further three years of good driving conduct earning them the remaining bonus point. Obviously if the licence holder started on 8 points this process will take longer.
Drivers who lose all their points due to repeated offences will have their licence initially taken away for 6 months. If, after having it returned, they commit further offences resulting in the complete loss of points it will be taken away for 12 months. Whenever a licence is taken away the driver has to attend a special driving course and retake a driving test before having it returned. When their licence is returned it will only have 8 points. If drivers drive for three years without committing any offence they will win back all their points.
In theory the maximum points an offender can lose in one day is 8 points; however traffic authorities have the discretion to immediately withdraw the licence if they consider the offence to be extremely serious, i.e. driving under extreme effects of alcohol or drugs, or driving at over 50 percent the recognised speed limit.
Guide to offences and number of points lost:
Speeding with the recorded speed between 21kmph and 30kmph over the recognised limit.
Stopping or parking in areas making it difficult for other vehicles to turn or in areas designated for public transport use only.
Using radar or other systems to avoid police controls.
Driving either without lights or the use of high beam lights, thus dazzling other road users.
Taking a passenger, under the age of 12, on a motorcycle.
Speeding with the recorded speed between 31kmph and 40kmph over the recognised limit.
Not maintaining a safe driving distance from the vehicle in front of you.
Driving whilst talking on a mobile telephone or using any device that prevents you from paying full attention to the road, i.e. headphones.
Not wearing a seatbelt or, on a motorcycle, a helmet.
Speeding with the recorded speed 40kmph over the recognised limit, providing this figure is less than 50% of the recognised limit. Excesses of more than 50% will automatically result in the loss of 6 points.
Driving under the influence of alcohol, the recorded amount showing between 0,25mg/l and 0,50mg/l. For drivers with less than 3 years experience these amounts are set at between 0,15mg/l and 0,30mg/l.
Driving on roads where vehicles are expressly prohibited.
Driving a vehicle without the correct licence.
Throwing any object from the car likely to cause and accident or start a fire.
Driving negligently or creating risks for other road users.
Failing to respect a STOP sign, traffic lights or a right of way.
Dangerous overtaking, i.e. putting oncoming traffic at risk, endangering cyclists, on bends or when visibility is reduced.
Reversing on motorways and main carriageways.
Failure to obey traffic police.
Travelling with 50% or more passengers than there are designated places (excluding the driver) within the vehicle, unless the vehicle is a bus.
Accelerating or manoeuvring your vehicle to prevent other vehicles from overtaking.
Speeding with the recorded speed either in excess of 50% of the recognised limit or 30kmph.
Driving under the influence of alcohol, the recorded amount in excess of 0,50mg/l. For drivers with less than 3 years experience this limit is set at 0,30mg/l.
Driving under the influence of drugs.
Refusing to undertake a breathalyser test or tests to determine drug use.
Driving in the wrong direction.
Driving in unauthorised races or competitions.