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County breakdown Major crackdown as close to half a million motorists given points for speeding

Last month, there were 540,174 motorists with at least one penalty point, out of 3.3 million drivers

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Graphic shows the total number of drivers with penalty points in each county and the percentage of total drivers who have penalty points

Graphic shows the total number of drivers with penalty points in each county and the percentage of total drivers who have penalty points

Graphic shows the total number of drivers with penalty points in each county and the percentage of total drivers who have penalty points

Almost half a million drivers have penalty points for speeding, as a county-by-county breakdown shows.

Motorists in Wexford and Wicklow are most likely to have points while Donegal has the lowest rate in the country.

It comes as gardaí have begun cracking down on speeding and driving offences on rural roads to reduce traffic deaths in the coming months.

Last month, there were 540,174 motorists with at least one penalty point, out of 3.3 million drivers, including 1,005 who were disqualified after accumulating 12 points.

More than 457,000 of these related to speeding, by far the highest source of penalty points, while there were 78,365 for driving while using a mobile phone, and 17,480 for using a vehicle without an NCT certificate.

The overall figure is below the 753,228 drivers with active penalty points in the same period in 2016, with reduced traffic volumes during the pandemic a factor.

Learner permit holders driving without a fully licensed driver is one of the few areas that has seen an increase in penalty points in recent years.

There were 15,172 penalty points relating to this in September, compared to 5,827 notices five years earlier.

An analysis of the most recent complete data from the Road Safety Authority from December 2020 for penalty points and licensed drivers shows that motorists in the south-east are the most likely to be issued points.

In December 2020, there were 114,703 learner and fully licensed drivers in Wexford, while in that same period, there were 19,143 motorists with active penalty points.

It means that 16.7pc of all drivers in the county had points, the highest rate in the country, with 55 disqualified from driving after accumulating 12 penalty points.

Wicklow had the same rate of 16.7pc, followed by Laois (16.6pc), Longford (16.5pc) and Limerick (15.9pc). In contrast, Donegal had the lowest proportion at 10.5pc, followed by Leitrim (11.4pc), Sligo (11.5pc) and Louth (11.5pc).

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While Dublin had the highest number of motorists with penalty points at 110,385, its driving population of 837,962 motorists meant that it had the fifth lowest rate at 13.2pc.

Penalty points are active for three years, meaning the offences occurred some time in the past 36 months.

The figures should be treated with caution from a road enforcement perspective as they are attributed to the address of the person receiving the points, rather than where the offence occurred.

It comes as August saw the highest number of fatalities in a single month for almost a decade after 24 people lost their lives, with 110 people killed on Irish roads in 2021.

Gardaí have also launched a special policing initiative focusing on rural roads which aims to cut the number of deaths until the end of the year. Operation Teorainn will target a range of offences including learner drivers travelling unaccompanied and road transport offences.

Gardaí have said rural roads with speed limits of 80kmh and over will be a particular target of the operation, with almost 80pc of fatal crashes occurring on these.

They have also raised concern about the increase in driver fatalities, up 19pc compared to the same period last year. Figures show 79pc of driver fatalities between 20 and 2020 were men.

Over a 24-hour period last week, gardaí held a national 'Slow Down Day' in which 419 drivers were detected speeding out of 192,333 vehicles checked - a rate of 0.2pc.

Superintendent Tom Murphy, of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said: "Speed is the main contributing factor in many crashes on our roads which all too often devastatingly result in the loss of lives."

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