Road Traffic Act 1961

Prohibition on driving without driving licence.

38

38.(1) A person shall not drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place unless he holds a driving licence for the time being having effect and licensing him to drive the vehicle.

F91[(2) (a) A person who contravenes subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and, subject to subsection (5), is liable on summary conviction

(i) where at the time of the commission of the offence he or she had been the holder of a driving licence (other than a learner permit) which had expired beyond its period of validity for a period of not more than 12 months before the commission of the offence, to a fine not exceeding 1,000, and

(ii) in any other case, to a fine not exceeding 2,000.]

(b) In a prosecution for an offence under this subsection, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown by the defendant, that he did not, at the time he drove the vehicle, hold a driving licence then having effect and licensing him to drive the vehicle.

(3) The owner of a mechanically propelled vehicle shall not employ a person to drive the vehicle in a public place unless the person holds a driving licence for the time being having effect and licensing him to drive the vehicle.

(4) (a) A person who contravenes subsection (3) of this section shall be guilty of an offence.

(b) In a prosecution for an offence under this subsection, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown by the defendant, that the person employed to drive the vehicle did not, at the time he drove the vehicle, hold a driving licence then having effect and licensing him to drive the vehicle.

F91[(5) A person

(a) who is summarily convicted of the offence of contravening subsection (1) and was at the time he or she committed the offence

(i) disqualified for holding a driving licence, or

(ii) a person required to produce a certificate of competency or a certificate of fitness before obtaining a driving licence,

in lieu of the penalty mentioned in subsection (2)(a), or

(b) who is summarily convicted of the offence of contravening subsection (3) in a case in which the person employed to drive the vehicle was at the time he or she drove the vehicle

(i) disqualified for holding a driving licence, or

(ii) a person required to produce a certificate of competency or a certificate of fitness before obtaining a driving licence,

in lieu of the penalty mentioned in section 102,

is liable to a fine not exceeding 5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.]

(6) Subsections (1) to (5) of this section shall not apply in relation to a member of the Garda Síochána driving a mechanically propelled vehicle in the course of his duty.

(7) Pedestrian-controlled vehicles which are specified for the purposes of this subsection by the Minister by regulations and which comply with the conditions stated in the regulations are hereby excepted from subsections (1) to (5) of this section and sections 40 and 41 of this Act.

F92[(8) A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant a person who in the members opinion

(a) is committing, or has committed, an offence under subsection (1), and

(b) is disqualified from holding a driving licence.]

F93[(9) In this section, notwithstanding the definition of driving licence in section 3, "driving licence" means

(a) an Irish driving licence,

(b) a licence or permit to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in respect of a category of vehicle referred to in the European Communities (Recognition of Driving Licences of Other Member States) Regulations 2008 issued by the competent authority of another Member State or a member state of the European Economic Area, but does not include a licence or permit so issued to a person to enable the person to learn to drive or provisionally to drive a vehicle,

(c) a licence or permit to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in respect of a category of vehicle recognised by an order made under section 23A(1), or

(d) both

(i) a licence or permit to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle in respect of a category of vehicle recognised by an order made under section 23B(1), and

(ii) the permission to reside given to a relevant person who holds the licence or permit referred to in subparagraph (i).]

Annotations

Amendments:

F91

Substituted (21.07.2006) by Road Traffic Act 2006 (23/2006), s. 12, S.I. No. 384 of 2006. A fine of €1,000 translates into a class D fine not exceeding €1,000 as provided (4.01.2011) by Fines Act 2010 (8/2010), ss. 3, 7(3) and table ref. no. 1, S.I. No. 662 of 2010. A fine of €2,000 translates into a class C fine not exceeding €2,500 (4.01.2011) by Fines Act 2010 (8/2010), ss. 3, 6(3) and table ref. no. 1, S.I. No. 662 of 2010. A fine of €5,000 translates into a class A fine, not exceeding €5,000 as provided (4.01.2011) by Fines Act 2010 (8/2010), ss. 3, 4(3) and table ref. no. 1, S.I. No. 662 of 2010.

F92

Inserted (22.06.2015) by Road traffic Act 2014 (3/2014), s. 6(c), S.I. No. 252 of 2015.

F93

Inserted (27.07.2022) by Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2022 (19/2022) s. 46(c), S.I. No. 390 of 2022.

Modifications (not altering text):

C44

Application of section restricted (21.10.2006) by Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 2006 (S.I. No. 537 of 2006), reg. 8.

Excepted vehicles.

8. The pedestrian controlled vehicles which are excepted from section 38(1) to (5) and from sections 40 and 41 of the Act are pedestrian-controlled vehicles which are neither constructed nor adapted for use for carrying the driver or a passenger and which do not exceed 407 kg in weight unladen.

C45

Application of section modified (1.01.1993) by Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (International Circulation) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 384 of 1992), art. 9(1).

Driving Licence or Permit.

9. (1) A visitor who is for the time being the holder of a driving permit may drive in a public place a vehicle which he is licensed by the driving permit to drive, other than a vehicle of a category in respect of which he is disqualified for holding a driving licence, and section 38 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, shall be modified accordingly.

...

Editorial Notes:

E373

A number of statutory instruments made pursuant to s. 42 of this Act were also made pursuant to this section. Where this occurred the relevant E-note in the annotations of s. 42 notes that the statutory instrument is also made pursuant to s. 38. These statutory instruments are not separately listed under this section.

E374

Prospective affecting provision: penalty points in respect of driving without a licence under section imposed, on payment of fixed charge and on conviction, by Road Traffic Act 2002 (12/2002), s. 2 and sch. 1 part 1 ref. no. 4, not commenced as of date of revision.

E375

Licence limited to specified vehicle type for purpose of section (24.07.1969) by Road Traffic Act 1968 (25/1968), s. 22(2), S.I. No. 139 of 1969.

E376

Previous affecting provision: fine in subs. (5) increased (31.10.2002) by Road Traffic Act 2002 (12/2002), s. 23(1)(a) and table part 1 ref. no. 5, S.I. No. 491 of 2002; subsection substituted as per F-note above.

E377

Previous affecting provision: fine in subs. (5) increased (18.07.1984) by Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 1984 (16/1984), s. 3(1) and table, ref. no. 2, commenced on enactment. Fine increased as per E-note above.

E378

Previous affecting provision: application of section extended (1.10.1984) by European Communities (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1984 (S.I. No. 234 of 1984), reg. 5; revoked (15.11.1999) by European Communities (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1999 (S.I. No. 351 of 1999), reg. 3; and superseded (15.11.1999) by Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1999 (S.I. No. 352 of 1999), art. 19 as per above E-note.

E379

Previous affecting provision: application of subss. (1)-(5) restricted (18.03.1964) by Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1964 (S.I. No. 29 of 1964), reg. 7; revoked (13.11.1989) by Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) Regulations 1989 (S.I. No. 285 of 1989), reg. 60 and sch. 7.

E380

Previous affecting provision: application of section modified by Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (International Circulation) Order 1961 (S.I. No. 269 of 1961), art. 14(1); as substituted (18.03.1964) by Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (International Circulation) (Amendment) Order 1964 (S.I. No. 59 of 1964), art. 4. Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (International Circulation) Order 1961 revoked (1.01.1993) by Mechanically Propelled Vehicles (International Circulation) Order 1992 (S.I. No. 384 of 1992), art. 3 and sch. 1.