Motoring Advice

What Are The Penalty Points for Learner and Novice Drivers?

Jul 22, 2016

What Are The Penalty Points for Learner and Novice Drivers?

In 2014, the RSA introduced a series of changes to the Irish Driver Licensing system around penalty points for learner drivers and those on novice or ‘N’ plates. If you fall into either category, it is good to know how these changes could affect you.

Did you know the following?


•    A person granted a first full driving license on or after 1st August 2014 must display N-plates on the vehicle for two years.
•    Any period where the person is disqualified or otherwise ceases to hold a license is not counted as part of these two years as a novice. 
•    The novice period applies only once, i.e. a person who holds a driving license for a category of vehicle and who after a period of two years becomes entitled to drive another category, does not become a novice in respect of the new category. 
•    Non-display of N plates is an offence under traffic law and is punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a penalty point offence, failure to display an N-plate will carry two penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or four on conviction by a court. 
•    A lower threshold of penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1st  August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first full driving licence.

As a learner or novice driver, you can now also earn penalty points for the following offences:


•    Learner permit holder driving unaccompanied by qualified person (N-plate driver does not count as a qualified driver).
•    Failure to display N-Plate or tabard.
•    Failure to display L-Plate or tabard.


Also, more recently, a fixed charge notice of €80 and two penalty points was introduced for driving with defective or worn tyres for all drivers. So for each of the above offences there will be two penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or four penalty points on conviction in court. A full list of penalty point offences from the RSA’s website can be viewed here.

There have been a lot of changes to the laws over the last few years, but remember, if you are a good and safe driver and you practice good driving habits, then you shouldn’t run into any problems. Liberty Insurance reward safe driving. Find out more about their Drive Safer Reward or get a car insurance quote in as little as two minutes.