Penalty Points And How They Work

Understand Penalty Points

speed-camera-signPenalty points can be annoying at the best of times. We’ve come up with a quick 5 point guide that looks at topics you need to be aware of, such as what are penalty points, how the system works and some common driving offences.

What Are Penalty Points?

Penalty points were introduced to encourage safe driving and reduce casualties on our roads. A penalty point is essentially a punishment on your driving licence issued by the Gardaí. They can be currently applied to learner permits and full Irish driving licences and remain on a persons licence for 3 years.


Offences are recorded on your driving licence record if you are caught partaking in an offence that attracts penalty points, a fine or the matter being referred to the courts.

Any driver accumulating 12 penalty points within any given three-year period will be automatically disqualified from driving for six months. If this case arises, the driver surrenders their licence within 14 days of receiving notification. It is an offence not to surrender a licence and drive while disqualified.

What To Expect

If it is considered that you have committed one or more of 62 driving infringements you will receive a written notification notifying you that points have been added to your driving licence (within 28 days). Included in this notice will be the time, date and location of offence, fine amount, date of notice issued, date points will be added, along with your name and address.

Common Driving Offences

Common driving offences include: driving while using a mobile phone, driving without car insurance, various dangerous and careless driving, speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, breach of a driver’s duty at a car accident and failure to stop when asked by a Garda member. All of these inexcusable motoring offences can leave you with hefty fines and points on your licence.

We have a number of blogs that look at eliminating common offences from your driving habits as well as how to avoid becoming a Garda checkpoint statistic. Included in our Garda checkpoint blog was information on making sure your licence, tax and insurance are all up to date. Having motor insurance is a legal obligation, and if you are found to be driving without insurance you can face a mandatory court appearance as well having 5 penalty points added to your licence. If you are searching for your motor insurance or would like us to compare insurers on your behalf just Get A Quote now or call us on 01 4003400 and we'll take it from there.


Penalty points will remain on your driving licence record for a period of 3 years. Penalty points are not active on your licence immediately. If you receive points for committing an offence you will receive a notice confirming this from the Road Safety Authority. The penalty points will only become active on your licence 28 days after the date of issue on this notice to you.

If you commit an offence that carries a fine as well as penalty points you will receive notice from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. You have 56 days to pay this fine and if you pay it anywhere within this time frame you will receive further notice confirming this and the points will then be added to your licence 28 days after the date of issue on this letter. Be mindful also that at any stage your driving licence is out of date during this time frame it does not count as part of the 3 years.