Road Traffic Offences in Ireland-the Facts You Should Know


mandatory breath testing

Most road traffic offences in Ireland are set out in the Road Traffic Acts 1961-2006, particularly the Road Traffic Act 1961. (This has now changed-see my updated 2017 article about drink driving in Ireland).

Before taking a look at the most common road traffic offences lets take a look at driver disqualifications which is an area of concern and worry to many drivers who are brought before the Courts on road traffic summonses or charge sheets dealing with road traffic offences.


Read my updated article on drink driving in Ireland.

Driver disqualifications

There are three types of driver disqualifications:

1.       Ancillary disqualification

This is the disqualification from driving which is within the discretion of a Judge under the Road Traffic Act 1961. This disqualification can be imposed for any offence under the Road Traffic Acts.

2.      Special disqualification

A special disqualification can be imposed where the Gardai or a licencing authority applies to court on the grounds that you are an unfit person to drive a motor vehicle because of incompetence, disability or other grounds.

3.      Consequential disqualification

Consequential disqualification arises as a matter of course if you are convicted of certain road traffic offences such as drink driving and driving without insurance. The court does not have discretion in relation to convictions in this category.

If you are disqualified from driving you can appeal the decision within 14 days of the decision; your disqualification will then be suspended until the outcome of your appeal.

Any disqualification from driving will lead to an endorsement on your licence by the motor tax office for a period of 3 years commencing on the expiration of your disqualification period.

Common road traffic offences

Common road traffic offences before the Courts include

1.      Driving without a licence

2.      Driving without insurance

3.      Driving a dangerously defective vehicle

4.      Driving without reasonable consideration

5.      Driving while unfit

6.      Dangerous driving

7.      Careless driving

8.      Drunken driving

9.      Drunk in charge

10.  Refusal to provide a breath specimen

11.  Refusal to provide a specimen after arrest

12.  Manslaughter

13. Restoration of driving licence

You can read more about each of these road traffic offences elsewhere on this site by clicking on the appropriate link.