Road policing app being rolled out across the country

A new fixed charge penalty app that will “revolutionise” road policing in Ireland will be rolled out across the country by the end of the year.

Road policing app being rolled out across the country

A new fixed charge penalty app that will “revolutionise” road policing in Ireland will be rolled out across the country by the end of the year.

About 2,000 new smartphone devices, called mobile data stations, are to be given to front-line gardaí.

Gardaí in Limerick have been piloting the technology since 2018 but it will require funding from the Department of Justice.

“This mobile phone technology will revolutionise road safety enforcement,” said Liz O'Donnell, chairperson of the Road Safety Authority.

“It will give gardaí at the roadside access to critical information such as driver disqualifications, insurance and National Car Test compliance,” said Ms O'Donnell.

“We see it as the most important development in enforcement since the introduction of the roadside breathalyser test.”

Ms O'Donnell urged Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to ensure that the roll-out is accelerated.

The app was demonstrated before the RSA and An Garda Síochána published a provisional review of progress in road safety up to July 28 2019.

“We would be very disappointed if there is any delay or if there was a decision for funding reasons not to roll out this project,” said Ms O'Donnell.

“It is critical that the funding is delivered and the gardaí are given this enhanced technology that will allow them to detect criminality at the roadside.

We will be very disappointed if it did not go ahead because it would be a missed opportunity.

The phone that records the exact location, time and court and garda district area can take a screenshot of a registration number and scan the driving license.

It can create a fixed penalty notice and within 90 seconds it goes to the fixed charge processing office in Thurles, Co Tipperary.

The fixed charge notice could be in the post within two days, compared to the paper option that can take days, if not weeks to happen.

Assistant Commissioner, David Sheahan, said they had a procurement process that would allow them to draw down the money for the purchase and distribution of the devices.

He stressed that the ACTIVE mobility programme was not just about road safety. Road safety was a key part but it would also include crime prevention and drug detection.

“It is going to digitalise our business going forward but this (road safety) was an ideal platform from which to start,” he said.

The garda officer became involved in the project two years ago and the app was successfully piloted in Limerick for over 12 months.

Ms O'Donnell said the RSA would prefer if the mobility app was dedicated to road policing – they had worked closely with gardaí on the project.

The review shows that from January 1 to July 28 this year 89 people died on Irish roads in 80 collisions.

There were 3% more collisions and 7% more deaths compared to provisional garda data for the same period last year.

The highest number of fatalities among all road users occurred in Dublin (9), followed by Tipperary (8) and Cork (7).

Sunday was the most dangerous day with a total of 21 fatalities this year.

RSA chief executive, Moyagh Murdock, described the figures as alarming and warned that the progress made in road safety over the last two years was at risk of stalling.

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