Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Motorists facing more penalties

Those convicted of not wearing a seatbelts will receive four penalty points on their driving licence and a fine of up to 90 euro

Drivers now face penalty points for almost 50 different motoring offences due to a new crackdown on road safety.

Additional laws will see anyone convicted for not wearing a seatbelt or having an unrestrained child in their car slapped with four penalty points and a fine of up to 90 euro.

Transport minister Leo Varadkar announced the changes, which are due to take effect from Friday.

"Shocking as it may sound there are still motorists who permit children under three to travel without being properly restrained," said Mr Varadkar.

"Failing to wear a seatbelt or allowing a passenger to travel unrestrained is a breach of the law and you risk a fine and penalty points on your licence which will remain in place for three years."

Seven new rules have been added to the penalty point system, bringing the number of offences drivers can be charged for to 48.

Figures released last month by the Road Safety Authority showed 23% of drivers killed and 29% of passengers killed on the roads in the first half of 2012 were not wearing seatbelts.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips said being strapped in while driving or travelling as a passenger was one of the most basic forms of road safety. "It is the simplest and most effective way to protect all occupants in any vehicle," Mr Phillips said.

Among the seven new offences, six of which focus on seatbelts, is a new category for vehicle weight. Anyone convicted for driving a vehicle that exceeds the permitted weight will be given three penalty points and could face a fine of up to 300 euro.

A leading member of the Catholic Church welcomed the additions to the penalty points system. Bishop of Clogher Liam MacDaid urged drivers to take extra care on the roads during the bank holiday weekend. "I am asking all road users to exercise particular vigilance in terms of safety and to be responsible on the roads over the next days," he said.

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