OVER 5,000 penalty point notices were issued to Clare drivers last year, with close to two-thirds of those being incurred by male drivers.
The figures, released this week by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), show that the vast majority of points notices issued to Clare motorists in 2019 – 71% – were for speeding. The second most common offence incurring points, at 14%, was driving while holding a mobile phone.
In relation to both of these motoring offences, men incurred a higher percentage of the points. A total of 3,620 points notices were issued last year in Clare for speeding. 60% of those were incurred by men and 40% by women.
The data, which is outlined in the CSO’s latest Transport Omnibus, show that 4,838 Clare drivers got penalty points last year. The vast majority of those motorists, at 84%, clocked up three points. However, there were four drivers who incurred a total of 12 points over the course of last year. By the end of 2019, 19 drivers had accumulated 12 points. Any driver who gets 12 penalty points in a three-year period is automatically put off the roads for six months.
Ennis-based driving instructor, Don Barrett said the break-down of penalty points offences between men and women was “to be expected”. “In general, I find that women retail their driving skills better than men,” he said. “An element of carelessness does creep in for all drivers once they pass their test, though.”
Mr Barrett also said that routine re-testing all motorists with full licences is something he would favour. “This wouldn’t be something related to age, but would be something to ensure that carelessness doesn’t become a problem,” he said. “Regulations can change and roads change. If you stand near a roundabout for five minutes, you’ll see a lot of things and people that still don’t know what the rules actually are.”
The Clare figures are very much in line with the national picture, with men incurring around two-thirds of the penalty points last year.
Nationally, there continues to be a higher driving test pass rate for men than for women, however. Of the men that took a driving test last year, 57% passed. The rate for female candidates last year was 50%.
Clare was one of 14 counties last year where the number of points issued decreased year-on-year. A total of 18,872 penalty points were recorded in the county last year, down almost 4% on the number issued in 2018.
According to the CSO figures, there are just over 84,000 licensed drivers in Clare. Of those, 52% are men and 48% women. Almost 6.5% of those are driving on a learner permit licence, which replaces the provisional licence system. 49% of those drivers are under the age of 25, while around 50% are aged between 26 and 79. The CSO figures show there were at total of 16 people over the age of 80 who hold learner permits.
Waiting times for a driving test in 2019 was, on average, five weeks for both the centre in Ennis and that in Shannon. There was an average wait of ten weeks for those taking the test last year at the centre in Kilrush.