Monday, February 04 16:01:28
Insurance companies will soon have full access to details of serious offences which have incurred penalty points for the first time, following a decision by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar.
The new measure will give insurance companies reliable and up-to-date information from the National Vehicle Driver File (NVDF) on serious offences that have incurred penalty points.
Insurance companies already have access to the NVDF to verify the number of penalty points incurred by individual drivers, but will now be able to determine whether an offence involved drink driving, speeding, using a mobile phone, or any of the 13 specific categories of serious offence.
The Department has reserved the right to reconsider this measure if insurance companies do not adequately reward safe drivers.
"This is about road safety, and rewarding motorists for safe behaviour. Last year was the safest on record on Irish roads, but it's vital that we don't let the good work go to waste. That's why we have to keep our focus on developing new measures and new policies to keep a solid focus on road safety, and to save lives. This measure is about road safety, and rewarding motorists for safe behaviour. Later this year we will launch the new Road Safety Strategy as part of a major EU conference which will contain further measures, and which aims to make Ireland one of the best countries in the EU for road safety," Minister Varadkar said.
The measure was included in the Road Traffic Act 2010 and passed into law when Minister Varadkar signed a Statutory Instrument late last year. By providing details of points incurred for serious offences, it has the potential to lead to lower insurance premiums for safer drivers.
There are currently 2.67 million licenced drivers in Ireland of whom 487, 000 have penalty points applied to their licence records. Some 80pc of these drivers have fewer than four points.
In 2012, some 200,500 penalty point notices were issued to 179, 000 drivers. So far this year, 5,015 penalty point notices have already been issued to 4,971 drivers.
As things stand, insurance companies apply for a loading on an insurance policy according to the number of penalty points, rather than the nature of the offence. In future, insurance companies will be able to take serious offences into account when applying this loading.