Novice Plates What Do They Mean

For novice drivers and first time learner permit holders.

These are 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 license learner and novice drivers.

The changes are as follows:

A person granted a first full driving license on or after 1st August 2014 must display N-plates on the vehicle for a period of 2 years, and during that period display N-plates on any other vehicle in respect of which they get a driving license.
The novice period applies only for someone who holds a driving license for a category of vehicle and who after a period of two years becomes entitled to drive another category, does not become a novice in respect of the new category.
Non-display of N plates is an offense under traffic law and is punishable by a fine not exceeding €1,000 for a first offence. On becoming a fixed change the failure to display an N-plate will carry 2 penalty points on payment of a fixed charge, or 4 on conviction.
A lower threshold of seven penalty points leading to disqualification will apply to any driver who is granted their first learner permit on or after 1 August 2014 while they drive under a learner permit, and subsequently during the first two years while they drive under their first driving licence.
There is no requirement for novice drivers to have an accompanying driver – this is still only the case for learner drivers. However, a novice driver may not act as an accompanying driver for someone who holds a learner permit

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.

In fact, UK research has revealed that 1 in 5 newly qualified novice drivers has crashed in the first six months after passing their test. Furthermore, available evidence suggests that a driver is considered to be inexperienced until s/he has driven 100,000 kilometers.

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.