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Vehicle licensing and registrations

Two separate sets of statistics are available on Irish vehicles. These are licensing and registration statistics. 

Licensing statistics refer to the number of vehicles legally allowed to drive on Irish roads (i.e. vehicles for which motor tax has been paid). These are divided into two categories: vehicles under current licence and vehicles licensed for the first time.

Statistics on vehicles licensed for the first time are compiled monthly by the CSO. The CSO bases these statistics on data supplied by the driver and vehicle computer services division of the Department of Transport.

Registration statistics refer to the number of vehicles registered for the first time (i.e. the number of licence plates issued). Registration statistics differ from licensing statistics in that not all vehicles registered need be licensed (for example tractors used exclusively on private land). Also, vehicles are not necessarily registered and licensed in the same month. Registration precedes licensing and this can lead to a time lag effect.

Statistics on vehicles under current licence are sourced from the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF). The NVDF is administered by the Department of Transport. The Department publishes annually the number of vehicles under current licence (or mechanically propelled vehicles under current licence, to give them their full title) in its Irish Bulletin of Vehicle and Driver Statistics.

View Vehicle Licensing methodological data

Driver and vehicle testing

The tables in this chapter have been sourced from the Road Safety Authority. They comprise three separate groups of statistics: statistics on current driving licences; statistics on driving tests; and statistics on National car test (NCT) results.

Penalty points

A penalty point system for driving offences was introduced in Ireland in 2002. A total of 62 separate offences are currently covered, each incurring between 1 and 5 penalty points. Penalty points are endorsed by An Garda Síochána and recorded by the Department of Transport.

Penalty point offences are recorded on the offender’s driving licence and remain on the licence for a period of three years. The figures presented include offences for those who hold foreign driving licences or where no driving licence number was supplied. In those cases, the period that the offence was on the driving licence did not count down and therefore remained as a current offence up to 2013. This practice changed in 2014 whereby penalty points are now counted down.

Road safety and road lengths

Statistics on road safety have been sourced primarily from the Road Safety Authority. Detailed tables from the Road Safety Authority for 2017 are presented. Data on road traffic injuries and detailed data on road fatalities for 2020 were not available at the time of this publication. Note: data on road safety for 2019 and 2020 is provisional.

Statistics on national road length have been sourced from the Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

Road traffic volumes

View Road Traffic Volumes methodological data

Road freight transport

View Road Freight methodological data

Aviation transport

View Aviation methodological data

Public transport (bus, Luas and rail)

This chapter presents statistics on bus, Luas and rail transport. The data on buses are provided by Dublin Bus, Bus Éireann and the Department of Transport. The data on the Luas is provided by the Transport Infrastructure Ireland and cover separately the red line (from Saggart to the Point, Dublin) and the green line (from Brides Glen to St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin). The data on rail transport are provided by Iarnród Éireann. Supplementary information on the "Coca Cola Zero bikes" for Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick are provided by JC Decaux and National Transport Authority.

Maritime transport

View Maritime methodological data

Small public service vehicle transport

Small public service vehicles (SPSVs) consist of taxis, hackneys and limousines. The tables in this chapter are sourced from the National Transport Authority.

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