Fianna Fáil calls for harsher penalties to crack down on hit-and-run drivers

Tougher penalties and legislation to allow gardaí test for drugs and drink up to 24 hours after an incident have been proposed by Fianna Fáil in a bid to crack down on hit-and-run drivers.

The opposition party want to make it an indictable offence for anyone to leave the scene of an accident, with punishment of up to ten years in jail and a fine of up to €5,000.

Currently, such offending drivers involved in causing an injury only face up to six months imprisonment and minor fines.

Launching the proposed road traffic legislation at Leinster House, the party’s transport spokesman Timmy Dooley said: “Current legislation is far too lenient on those who flee the scene of an accident. The gardaí only have three hours to find the alleged offenders and test them for drugs and alcohol. If that three hours lapses, the gardaí’s hands are tied.”

The party, who will put forward the proposals to the Dáil next week, wants the period which drivers can be tested extended to 24 hours.

Mr Dooley added: “This will give gardaí far more scope to track down those involved, test for intoxicating substances and ensure that the appropriate charges are brought forward.”

The family of a Monaghan man Shane O’Farrell, who was knocked off his bicycle and killed by a driver who fled the scene, said yesterday they supported the proposed changes to the motoring offences.

Mr O’Farrell’s inquest takes place today.


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