ICSA president Patrick Kent has hit out at new penalty point offences which will disproportionately penalise young drivers in rural areas.

“Making it a penalty point offence for learner drivers to drive unaccompanied is a draconian measure and is making the challenge of country living all the harder,” said Mr. Kent.

“Many of the journeys made by the children of farmers would involve driving around to out farms and so on, but any use this might be to their parents is completely negated by having to be accompanied.

“There is also the social aspect. Young people in rural areas generally don’t have access to public transport.  We are now in a situation where a young driver will have to bring a parent or older sibling with them if they want to meet up with a girlfriend or boyfriend. How realistic is this?”

“The recent decision to prosecute farmers for carrying children under the age of 7 in a tractor cab shows just how out of touch with reality the rule makers are. ICSA believes that education is the way to reduce farm deaths and we have repeatedly called for farm safety to be a compulsory element of the primary school curriculum.”

The ICSA President was responding to the confirmation by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD that a number of adjustments to penalty points and new penalty point offences took effect on December 8.

Penalty Points have been increased for 9 offences, and a further 14 offences will now attract penalty points for the first time.  In addition, 2 offences which previously involved a court appearance have now been brought within the fixed charge notice and penalty points system.

The new penalty point offences include learner permit holders driving unaccompanied or failing to display an L Plate, and failure by novice drivers to display an N Plate.  For each of these offences, the points will be two on payment of a fixed charge or four on conviction in court.