The practice of tailgating — driving right up behind larger vehicles such as lorries so as to obscure the view of the front licence plate — had become a serious problem on the M50 around Dublin, with gardaí warning that it could cause serious accidents.
Yesterday, gardaí revealed that almost all the motorists issued fixed charge penalty notices for tailgating have paid the €80 fine and received two penalty points.
Just two have not as yet and will now face a court appearance.
When gardaí highlighted the issue earlier this year they explained that tailgating was ineffectual as newly installed rear-facing cameras meant licence plates would still be recognised, even if a motorist attempted to escape paying the toll.
Since that message was issued the practice has proven less common, with figures released by eFlow yesterday showing an 83% fall between February and July of this year.
However, last month there were still more than 2,000 incidents of tailgating on the M50, prompting a fresh warning from the toll management company as to the potential dangers the practise poses to anyone using the motorway.
Simon McBeth, eFlow director of communications, said tailgating put lives at risk.
“We introduced rear-facing cameras on the M50 to stop the dangerous practice of tailgating. The rear-facing cameras capture the rear licence plate number of all vehicles and eFlow subsequently issue a toll request. Tailgating is dangerous and senseless.”
Inspector John Ferris of the Garda Press Office said of tailgating: “The game is up.”
Describing it as a “ludicrous” practice, he also said that those caught faced the fixed charge fine and two penalty points, making it an expensive way of passing through the toll.
The fixed charge penalties were issued as a result of an earlier Garda operation, but he said: “We are monitoring and we will have more operations.
“Thankfully most people seem to be getting the message, apart from the danger it is absolutely futile.”