Paschal Donohoe to tighten driving laws

A crackdown on dangerous drivers has been pledged by Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe after he described as unacceptable the number of motorists committing offences and escaping penalty points.

He was reacting to figures showing 150,000 motorists who were commanded to appear in court over the past two years avoided convictions due to legal loopholes like claiming to have not received a fixed-charge notice in the post, or that they had not been served with the summons at their correct address.

The minister said tough new action was needed to deal with drivers who used the court process to dodge sanction.

“What I what to emphasise in relation to this is that 79% of fixed charge notices served do end up in the successful application of penalty points.

Paschal Donohoe to tighten driving laws

“It continues to be unacceptable that the number of people who go to court for either a very serious road traffic offence or an accumulation of traffic offences and we do not see penalty points applied to their licence,” he added.

The Transport Minister said he was working with his counterpart at the Justice Department, Frances Fitzgerald, to try and deal with the problem of people attempting to avoid penalty points by failing to bring their driving licenses to court.

A new database is to be set up so motorist registrations can be checked against driving licenses in a bid to ensure that offenders cannot escape sanction so easily.

“The gardaí, Minister Fitzgerald and I have commenced a number of steps in relation to the matter.

Paschal Donohoe to tighten driving laws

“What you will see across November is a number of cases being undertaken to prosecute those individuals who fail to produce their driving licenses in court and did not produce them,” Mr Donohoe said at a road safety launch in Dublin.

He said 21 people came before Dublin Circuit Court in September for allegedly failing to produce a driving license in court. The cases had been adjourned but are expected to be concluded next month in what could prove a significant ruling.

The road safety event Mr Donohoe was speaking at was organised to highlight the danger of motorists not checking their tyres on a regular basis, and problems related to buying used tyres.

He expressed concern after a survey by the Road safety Authority revealed that despite the fact eight out of 10 drivers know how to go about checking their tyre pressure, only one in 10 do so on a monthly basis.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said that having decent tyres was “a matter of life and death. The brakes will stop the wheel but the tyres stop the car,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Director of Public Prosecutions is to appeal against a High Court ruling that drink-driving suspects breathalysed at Garda stations should have been given the results in Irish as and not just English.


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