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Irish Graduated Driving Licence System Irish Graduated Driving Licence System


Irish Graduated Driving Licence System

Published 11th July 2014Read Time 3 min

The Irish Graduated Driving Licence (GDL) System for Learner / Novice Drivers
The following information comes from the Irish Road Safety Authority regarding the Graduated Driving Licence  System:
As you may already be aware, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport announced changes to the driver licensing system that apply to newly qualified novice drivers and first time learner permit holders. These changes are important road safety measures that form part of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system, one of the key actions in the current and previous Government Road Safety Strategies aimed at improving how we train, test and licence learner and novice drivers.
The changes are as follows:

  • From 1 August, N plates are a legal requirement for any driver who gets their first full driving licence in any category on or after that date
  • Any driver who receives their first ever learner permit on or after 1st  August will be subject to a lower penalty point threshold, a total of seven penalty points rather than 12. This does not apply to anyone currently in the system, eg. people who already have a  learner permit or full driving licence before 1st  August
  • Non-display of N plates is an offence under traffic law and is punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a fixed charge the failure to display an N-plate will carry 2 penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or 4 on conviction.

The purpose of the GDL system is to reduce the number of collisions, deaths and injuries among learner and novice drivers, particularly among the high risk 17 to 24 year olds, during the learning to drive period and period immediately after they pass their test. Research tells us that novice drivers are most likely to be killed on our roads in the first two years after passing their test due to their inexperience. Therefore, these measures are designed to protect our most vulnerable road-users so that they can become safe, competent and confident drivers, helping to ensure we have fewer collisions, fatalities and injuries on our roads.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) will have a public awareness campaign to make relevant audiences aware of the new requirements.
For further information including a detailed Frequently Asked Questions and Background to the Graduated Licensing System can be found at and