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New Road Bill To Bring About Significant Changes

gdaThe Road Traffic Bill 2013 has been published by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar. If it’s passed into law, drug impairment tests will be brought in, along with an increase in penalty points, and new ‘N’ plates for novice drivers. These plates would be required for the first two years of a new licence, and also apply to motorcyclists. Novice and learner drivers would also be subject to a lower number of penalty points for disqualification; six points – which is half the level for fully licenced drivers – would mean a two year ban.

Penalty points will also be increased for other misdemeanours; an additional point is being suggested for speeding, using a mobile phone while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt. Three points will be doled out once a fixed charge has been paid, and there can be up to five more upon conviction – an increase of two and four points, respectively. Offences such as not having an NCT certificate on display currently involve only a court appearance; two penalty points could now be attached.

Another addition is that Gardaí would now have the power to ask drivers to ‘walk the line’, which is most commonly seen in the States, and requires drivers to walk in a straight line to help prove they are not under the influence of alcohol. Minister Varadkar said of the test, “It is proper neurological testing involving pass pointing, stepping, and so on. And Gardaí are trained to do that.”

The Bill needs to be approved by the Dáil and signed into law by President Higgins before it can come into force, but Minister Varadkar said that with these new measures, he’s trying to make Irish roads some of “the safest … in the EU.”

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