Fines are set to double for 16 road offences from midnight tonight (Wednesday, October 26) and will include a €120 penalty for drivers who use mobile phones.

It is the first increase in fines for road safety offences since they were introduced, in some cases almost 20 years ago.

Motorists will also receive fines of €160 for speeding, €120 for not wearing seatbelts and €120 for failing to ensure a child is properly restrained.

Learner drivers who are found driving unaccompanied will receive a fine of €160, and anyone not displaying ‘L’ or ‘N’ plates will face a €120 penalty.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, also announced details of three new fixed-charge offences, that will be introduced in 2023 at the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) Annual Conference in Croke Park today.

These include misuse of a disabled parking permit, illegally parking in an electric charging bay, breaching a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) ban and entering a specified public road without a valid permit.

The number of road deaths has increased year on year in Ireland

Minister Naughton believes increasing fines for road offences will act as “a stronger deterrent” to drivers who break the rules of the road.

Speaking at the RSA’s Annual Conference, the minister said:

“As of today there have been 122 people killed on the road, an increase of 11 on this day last year, and compared to 2019. In response to the increase in road deaths this year.

“This summer I announced that I was bringing forward the implementation of Action 30 in the Road Safety Strategy to review the penalties for serious road traffic offences and said that I intended to increase the fines for those offences that significantly contribute to road deaths.”

Speed a contributory factor in fatal collisions

An estimated 250 delegates are expected to the attend the RSA annual conference which this year is focusing on the theme of tackling speed.

road safety conference
Velma Burns, RSA, explores the reasons why motorists speed

The World Health Organisation has estimated that a 5% reduction in average speed could result in a 30% reduction in fatal collisions.

Liz O’Donnell, chairperson of the RSA, said speed continues to be a “contributory factor” to fatal collisions in Ireland.

“Analysis of Irish Coronial data shows that one quarter of driver fatalities with a record of their actions available were exceeding a safe speed,” she said.

“Recent survey research conducted by the RSA found that a third of drivers admitted to exceeding 50km/h speed limits by more than 10km/h at least sometimes.”

O’Donnell said she believes that doubling the fines for drivers that break rules should help put the country on the path to reduce deaths and serious injuries by “50% by the end of the decade”.

While the increased fines for road safety offences come into effect from midnight if drivers fail to pay either the €120 or €160 fine within a 28-day period will the fine will increase to €240 or €320.

Drivers who use a mobile while driving or do not properly restrain a child will also receive penalty points – if a driver gets 12 penalty points in three years they are disqualified for six months.