herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Drivers who are disqualified will be 'named and shamed' online

RSA chief Moyagh Murdock
RSA chief Moyagh Murdock

Road safety chiefs want the identity of drivers put off the roads by the courts to be "as widely known as possible".

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) intends to start "naming and shaming" disqualified motorists on its website from early next year, after consultation with the Data Protection Commissioner indicated there is "no obstacle" to doing so.

The person's name will remain on the website and be available for the media to report for the duration of their suspension.

It comes as figures reveal that gardai have arrested 456 disqualified drivers on the spot since they were given new powers to do so at the end of June.

Gardai also revealed statistics yesterday that show 87pc of drink-driving cases brought before the courts this year resulted in a conviction.

In the 10 months to the end of October, gardai arrested 5,951 drivers on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant, of which 5,281 drivers were over the legal limit.

The Court Service indicated that for the first seven months of 2015, a total of 2,334 drink-driving cases were heard in full and decided upon by courts, resulting in 2,021 convictions and 313 were dismissed.

Changes

"While there have been significant changes in the drink- driving culture in Ireland over the last decade, drink driving continues to be a major contributory factor to road deaths and injuries on Irish roads," said Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey to the Oireachtas Committee on Transport.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said that one iniatitive aimed at bringing a "societal change" would be the naming of drivers who are disqualified for offences like drink-driving.

"We know from a survey of 1,000 motorists, conducted in 2014 that one in 10 drivers (nearly 300,000 drivers) admitted to drinking alcohol before driving in the last 12 months; we know 62pc of drivers believe it's not safe to drive having taken any alcohol," she said.

"We can take from this that there is still ambivalence and, in some cases, contempt among some drivers about drinking and driving."

Asked how the "name and shame" process would work, the RSA told the Herald that it would publish the names on its own website.

"There is precedent for this sort of approach in that the NTA (National Transport Authority)publish details of taxi driver disqualifications and the Director of Corporate Enforcement provides outcomes of court cases in which it has been involved. The Revenue Commissioners also publish the list of tax defaulters on a quarterly basis," the RSA said.

The Committee also heard as of November 23 there have been 138 fatal collisions on Irish roads, resulting in 144 deaths.

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