Table 1

Timeline of road safety legislation in Ireland

LegislationYear implemented
Compulsory use of seat belts for all car occupants:
Previous legislation applied to front seat occupants only.
Penalty points (demerit) system:
A formal reprimand by the GardaÍ (Police) endorsed on an individual’s license when guilty of committing specific driving offences. Initially used for speeding offences in an attempt to improve driver behaviour, the range of offences covered by the legislation and number of points endorsed are routinely expanded. Fixed charge penalties are imposed along with the points, which remain on a license for 3 years. An accumulation of 12 penalty points within a 3-year period results in automatic disqualification from driving for a period of 6 months.
Random breath testing of drivers for alcohol consumption:
The 2006 Road Traffic Act gave the Gardaí the power to breathalyse any driver stopped at a mandatory checkpoint. The accepted blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving is 80 mg/100 mL.
Compulsory use of appropriate child restraint systems (CRS):
European Commission regulation enacted stipulating mandatory requirement for all children measuring <150 cm in height and/or weighing <36 kg (generally children aged up to 11/12 years) to be restrained in appropriate CRS.
Lowering of limit of acceptable BAC for driving.
Introduction of speed detection cameras nationwide.
Limit of acceptable BAC permissible when driving is reduced from 80 mg/100 mL to 50mg/100mL for all drivers and 20 mg/100 mL for specified drivers (defined as learners, newly qualified or professional drivers).
Increased penalty for carrying children unrestrained2013
  • The legal age for driving a vehicle in Ireland is 17 years. At minimum, a learner’s permit is required to drive on a public road, must be appropriate for the category of vehicle and be in the driver’s possession at all times while driving a vehicle. The driver on a learner’s permit must be accompanied at all times by a full license holder.