A new survey has found that older drivers have been given substantially more penalty points than the national average.

The research was commissioned by Liberty Insurance and 469 drivers were asked about whether or not they had been given penalty points and how aware they were of the speed limits for the roads they drive on.

The survey found that 38% of over-60s admit to having received a fine or penalty points for speeding, compared to the national average of just over 1 in 4 (26%) drivers.

The research suggests that only 51% of Irish motorists are "always" aware of the speed limit for the road they are driving on.  A further 46% claim to be aware of the speed limit "most of the time".

Drivers in the Munster region claimed they had the highest awareness of speed limits, while Dublin drivers fared worst.  A total of 53% of drivers in Munster claimed to be "always" aware of the speed limits versus 48% in Dublin. 

Less than 2 in 3 (63%) drivers are "always aware" of their own speed they are driving at, with a further third (35%) admitting to being aware of their own speed "most of the time". By region, Connacht and Ulster have the highest percentage of drivers who are "always aware" of their own speed when driving, with 69% confident in their speed awareness. Of these drivers in Connacht and Ulster, 58% claim to never break the speed limit. 

Almost two in three (65%) of drivers support the proposed introduction of graduated penalties for drivers caught speeding.  In effect, this new system would mean that the more a driver is caught breaking the speed limit, the higher the fine or number of penalty points given to the driver. This is the case in many other countries. In Iceland, for example, drivers get a fine of 175 Euros for exceeding the speed limit by 26 kilometres per hour and up to up to 500 Euros for exceeding the limit by 40 KPH.

A similiar system is under consideration in Ireland, where one driver in Galway has been caught doing 243 KPH in a 120 KPH zone and another was stopped in Carlow for driving at 212 KPH on the M9 motorway.  

Siobhan Fay of Liberty Insurance, says the graduated penalty system should be adapted. "We are all aware that speeding is a major problem on Irish roads, particularly on rural roads. Many people associate speeding with young drivers.  However, it will come as a surprise to many people to learn that the over-60s, as opposed to younger drivers, are the worst offenders", she said.