A new penalty points system aims to encourage safer driving and reduce casualties on Irish roads.

The new system which will apply to all drivers on Irish roads has been developed in an attempt to reduce the number of road traffic fatalities. Four hundred and fifteen people lost their lives as a result of traffic accidents last year, and eighty-five have been killed in this year alone. 

Penalties for motoring offences ranging from driving in a cycle track to dangerous overtaking will be recorded against a driver's licence.  

Drivers will also have to pay a fixed charge for any offence. Appeals will be facilitated, but if they fail the penalty charges and penalty points will increase.  

This has all been made possible by many government departments working together, says Minister for State for the Environment Bobby Molloy, as well as,  

Enormous resources being put into the information technology.

The cost of insurance currently paid by Irish drivers is related to the high rate of road accidents. Insurance premiums for younger drivers are being examined by the government appointed Motor Insurance Advisory Board. Their report which will be published at the end of the year. Chairperson Dorothea Dowling explains,  

Figures which we have received...would indicate that there is what we call a surplus.

The penalty points system may allow young drivers to quantify their risk compared to older drivers, but ultimately, 

All road users will be hoping that it brings down the number of traffic accidents and road deaths.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 28 March 2001. The reporter is Robert Shortt.