Driving Test Update

Please note that our customer service agents cannot manage driving tests over the phone, so we kindly ask you not to call for this information. Driving tests should be managed directly through


When will I get a driving test?

In line with the easing of restrictions, we are offering driving test invitations to those who are eligible to take their test and have been waiting the longest. Know more >


Need to add yourself to the driving test waiting list?

Please sign up or log into our new customer portal to apply for a driving test and add yourself to the waiting list. This video will show you how


Essential Driver Training (EDT) update

Approved Driving Instructors (ADI’s) can now offer EDT to all customers so learner drivers no longer need to complete an essential worker declaration form. Know more >



Covid-19 safety measures

We have put in place Covid-19 safety measures for the driving test which must be followed or your appointment will not go ahead. Know more>


How it works, why it matters

Penalty points are designed to encourage safe driving and reduce casualties on our roads. This section explains how the system works and lists the offences that incur penalty points.


The penalty points system for driving offences was introduced in Ireland on 31 October 2002. The aim of penalty points is to improve driver behaviour in Ireland and reduce the levels of death and serious injury on our roads. The system was extended to insurance, seat belt wearing and careless driving offences in 2003 and 2004. In August 2014 a lower threshold of points leading to disqualification of learner and novice drivers was introduced. In December 2014 penalty point offences for learner drivers unaccompanied, learner and novice drivers not displaying L and N plates respectively, a range of  other new offences and increased points for some exisiting offences, were introduced.

What are penalty points?

A penalty point is essentially a formal reprimand by the Gardai endorsed on your driving licence record that shows you are guilty of a specific driving offence.

How does the system work?

 Penalty point offences are recorded on your driving licence record if:

  • You are convicted of a driving offence that attracts penalty points, or 
  • You are served with a fixed charge notice for an alleged offence that attracts penalty points and you opt to pay the fine rather than having the matter 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.

A lower threshold of seven penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first driving licence.

Where a driver held a learner permit before 1 August 2014 and obtained a first full licence on or after that date they will then be disqualified from driving either-

(a) on accumulating 12 penalty points in any three year period, or
(b) on accumulating seven penalty points where all seven points were accumulated after 1 August 2014 and within the first two years of holding a valid driving licence.

The driver is required to surrender his/her Irish or foreign driving licence to the  National Driver Licence Service within 10 days of  disqualification commencing. It is an offence not to surrender a licence. It is also an offence to drive while disqualified.

How long will the penalty points stay on my licence record for?

Penalty points remain on the licence record for a period of three years. The three years will not include any period where your licence is out of date or where you are disqualified from driving because of another offence. If your driving licence is out of date, the points will only apply from whenever you renew your licence.

Penalty points do not physically appear on the licence. Instead, your points are recorded on your driving licence record. These records are held on the National Vehicle and Driver file operated by the Department of Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport.

If you have committed a driving offence that incurs penalty points you will receive a written notification informing you that points are being added to your driving licence record. This notice will include details of your name, address, date time and location of the driving offence concerned. It will also confirm that you either paid the fixed charge for the offence or were convicted in the court of such offence. The notice will also contain a date on which the notice was issued to you. This is the important date as the points will only be added to your licence record 28 days after this date.

Why do penalty points not take effect from the date of the offence?

Penalty points do not take effect from the date of the offence because:

  • The points can only be applied after you pay a fixed charge or after you are found guilty of the offence;
  • A licence holder is disqualified from driving 28 days after a written notice has issued and not immediately as otherwise it would be possible that you would be driving while disqualified without knowledge of the disqualification – for example, where you already have 10 points and commit an offence caught by camera.

Payment of fixed charges

Offences can be detected by Garda interception or, in the case of speeding offences, by speed cameras. 

Where a Garda interception takes place you must show your driving licence to the Garda so that he/she can take your driver number. In most cases, a fixed charge notice setting out the fine payable will then be issued, and you have the option of paying the fixed charge or allowing the matter to proceed to court. 

A person has 28 days from the date the fixed charge notice is issued to pay. Anyone who pays in the subsequent 28 days pays that amount plus 50%. Court proceedings are initiated if a fixed charge is not paid within this 56-day period.  A third payment option is available where the fine can be paid up to 7 days before the court date. The fine will be double the original fine and the points will be applied. Details of the third payment option will be delivered with the summons for court.

Most penalty point offences also attract fixed charges, but a small number of offences result in automatic summons to court without the option of paying a fixed charge.

Where an offence is detected by camera, the fixed-charge notice will be sent to the registered owner. The Road Traffic Act provides that unless another person is identified as the driver it will be assumed that the registered owner was driving the vehicle at the time of the occurrence of the alleged offence.

There is an explicit requirement that where the registered owner of a vehicle was not driving or using the vehicle he or she must give the name and contact details of the driver of the vehicle. No payment should be enclosed. 

When this information is received, the fixed charge notice will be issued to the named driver, on whose licence record the points will be endorsed, either on payment of a fixed charge or a court conviction. 

Cancelling Penalty Points

 A driver may seek to have the fixed charge notice cancelled if there were exceptional circumstances relating to the case i.e. before the fine is paid - information about this process can be found at under Cancelling Fixed Charge Notices.

Appeal Penalty Points

Drivers are issued a Fixed Charge Notice in the case of a penalty points offence. A driver can opt to pay the fine and accept the penalty points or can go to Court and have the matter decided upon in Court.
On payment of a fixed charge notice or on foot of a Court decision the penalty points are applied to the licence record of the driver concerned and remain on the record for three years. An appeal against a court decision can be lodged within 14 days of the decision with the Courts. The Road Safety Authority has no power to remove penalty points and can only do so on the direction of a Court or An Garda Síochána.

What licences do penalty points apply to?

Penalty points apply to all driving licences and learner permits.

For enquiries about the Penalty Point system, please email mailto:[email protected]

Road Safety Authority
Co Mayo
Tel 096 25000
Email: [email protected]