Brexit puts brakes on Shane Ross's proposed increased penalties for speeding

Brexit puts brakes on Shane Ross's proposed increased penalties for speeding

It will be next week before new proposals on graduated speeding fines will be brought before Government for discussion, with criticism already surfacing over enforcement of the planned changes.

Minister for Transport Shane Ross has prepared a memo on the proposals for his Cabinet colleagues which would see higher fines and penalty points the more above the speed limit a motorist was travelling.

It is understood the proposals extend from two penalty points and a €80 fine for being caught 10kph over the limit to six penalty points and a €200 fine for being 30kph over the limit.

Other changes are thought to include varying the speed limit on the M50 to better manage traffic flow, and a €80 fine and automatic penalty points for any driver who does not have their licence to hand if they are pulled over by Gardaí.

However, due to the continuing Brexit situation, the minister's memo could not be put before his Cabinet colleagues today and a spokesman for the department signalled it would happen next week instead.

Government approval would be required to allow for a draft scheme for the proposals, while both An Garda Siochana and the Road Safety Authority said it would be premature for comment on the proposals at this stage.

However, Director of Consumer Affairs for AA Ireland, Conor Faughnan argued while the new proposals were good in principle, the focus should instead be on enforcing existing laws.

"The Irish statute book is as tough as anything on the planet," he said. "When it comes to enforcing the laws we are dreadful."

Mr Faughnan said the Garda Traffic Corps was understrength and did not have proper equipment while there was also not enough gardaí and, also, issues with administration of the courts' system.

He claimed it was "debatable" whether the proposals, if made law, would have a deterrent effect, adding: "We have probably pushed that envelope as far as we can."

Mr Faughnan also said the proposals would likely lead to more legal challenges, as the difference between being caught driving at 90kmph and 91kmph could be the difference between a motorist keeping or losing their licence.

He noted, under the current system, a prosecution was only brought when it was unambivalently over the limit, whereas under a graduated system there could be more challenges when it came to the technology used by gardaí and their ability to use it.

He added: "If we are going to police speed limits this way we have to get speed limits right.

"We still have speed limits set eccentrically all over the country by local authorities."

The RSA had previously backed the idea of graduated speeding and discussed the possibility of linking speeding fines to the offender's level of income.

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