Before driving in Ireland, it is very important that you know and understand Irish road traffic laws and the obligations on all drivers on Irish roads. If you do not obey road traffic law, you could face a fine, penalty points or a conviction in court.
Rules of the Road“Rules of the Road” is published by the Road Safety Authority and provides an interpretation of road traffic law in Ireland. It is available in English, Irish, Polish, Russian and Chinese Mandarin on the Road Safety Authority website.
The Citizens Information website also provides information on driving in Ireland.
The following are just some of the points that you should be aware of, but you should consult the ‘Rules of the Road’ for more detailed information on legal requirements.
· You must drive on the left hand side of the road in Ireland.
· In Ireland, motor vehicles are divided into different categories for driver licensing purposes and have different minimum ages for drivers, for example you must be 17 or over to drive a car.
· You must wear a safety belt.
· Children under 3 years of age must not travel in a car or goods vehicle (other than a taxi) unless restrained in the correct child seat.
· You must not drive a vehicle or ride a motorcycle while using a hand-held mobile phone.
Driving LicenceIt is a statutory requirement (i.e. the law) that you must hold a current driving licence or a learner permit (previously known as a provisional licence) before driving any motor vehicle in a public place. You are required to carry this with you at all times when driving.
A theory test certificate must be obtained before a first learner permit will be granted. For information on the theory test and how to apply visit this page of the Citizens Information website or visit theorytest.ie.
On passing the theory test, an application for a learner permit should be made to your local Motor Tax office. For more information and details of how to apply, visit the Citzens Information website.
The Citizens Information website also offers information on how to exchange a driving licence issued by an EU or EEA Member State for a full Irish driving licence and a list of other countries that Ireland has agreements with.
Motor Insurance and Motor TaxAll vehicles registered in Ireland must display current insurance and motor tax discs on their windscreen.
There are many private motor insurance companies throughout Ireland. The Financial Regulator has produced a Motor Insurance Cost Survey, comparing the premiums charged by various insurers and the policy benefits. This may help you find the best quote for your needs.
To find out more about paying motor tax and the different rates which apply you can visit Motor Tax Online. In general, the more powerful your vehicle, the higher the rate of insurance and motor tax.
The National Car Test (NCT)The National Car Test makes sure your vehicle is safe to use on the road. All cars over 4 years old or more must be tested, must have a valid NCT Certificate and show the NCT disc on the windscreen. For information, visit the NCT website or phone 1890 200 670.
Speed LimitsAs a driver, you must always be aware of your speed and judge the appropriate speed for your vehicle, taking into account:
· driving conditions
· other users of the road
· current weather conditions
· all possible hazards
· speed limits
Signed speed limits on roads set the maximum speed at which vehicles can travel. Generally, the speed limit applying to motorways is 120 km/h, 100km/h for National Roads (primary and secondary), 80 km/h for non-national roads (regional and local) and 50km/h for built up areas such as cities, towns and boroughs. However, local authorities can set special speed limits on roads and these signs must be obeyed.
Drinking and DrivingResearch has shown that alcohol can be a major factor in crashes that lead to death and injury, with even small amounts affecting your judgement and your ability to drive.
It is a criminal offence to drive, attempt to drive or be in charge of a motor vehicle if you have more than:
· 50 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood for fully qualified non-professional drivers;
· 20 milligrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood for all learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test), and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers (PSV);
· 67 mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine for fully qualified non-professional drivers;
· 27 mg of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine for all learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test), and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers (PSV);
· 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath for fully qualified non-professional drivers;
· 9 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath or all learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test), and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers (PSV).
You can see material on how drink affects driving ability on this page of the Road Safety Authority website.
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