Tuesday 25 October 2016

Drivers avoid penalty points with loophole

Gardai on duty
Gardai on duty

Hundreds of drivers may have escaped having penalty points added to their licence due to a legal loophole.

Motorists, who failed to provide a copy of their driver's licence when appearing in court, could walk away with no penalty points.

A commencement order requiring people to provide a copy of their licence when appearing in court regarding newly-introduced penalty point offences has yet to be signed into law.

The glitch means there is no legal sanction for drivers convicted of these offences in court who do not surrender their licence.

A source said that people are still obliged to produce their driver's licence when appearing in court on the newly-introduced road traffic violations.

However, failure to provide their driver's licence will see people go unpunished until the commencement order is signed into law.

A spokesperson for Transport Minister, Paschal Donohoe, confirmed that the order will come into effect tomorrow.

"The matter only recently came to the Department's attention, legal advice was sought and now the commencement order is being made so that the offence applies to all new penalty point offences with effect from July 28, 2015," the spokesperson said.


"This issue impacts a relatively small number of new penalty point offences introduced. There is no impact in relation to offences such as speeding, holding a mobile phone or non-wearing of seatbelts - the offences which attract the highest number of penalty point offences.

"There is no evidence to indicate that this has impacted in any way on the production of licences in court or to the application of penalty points on conviction in court," the spokesperson added.

Fourteen new penalty point violations were introduced last year, including the failure of a learner permit holder to be accompanied by a fully licensed driver.

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