Wednesday 26 October 2016

Paschal Donohoe: Numbers of people going to court and escaping penalty points convictions 'unacceptable'

Paschal Donohoe
Paschal Donohoe

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said the number of people going to court and escaping penalty points convictions is “unacceptable”.

Mr Donohoe, speaking at the launch of Road Safety Week in Dublin City Centre, was responding to reports that four out of five drivers summonsed to court over penalty points offences are escaping conviction.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Donohoe said: “What I what to emphasise in relation to this is that 79pc of fixed charge notices served do end up in the successful application of penalty points.”

“That being said, I believe 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 license,” he added.

The new figures show that almost 150,000 drivers who were ordered to appear in court over the past two years were not convicted for reasons including not being served with a summons at the correct address, or claiming to have never received a fixed-charge notice in the post.

Mr Donohoe said he and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald are now working on plans to address the behaviour of people failing to bring driving licences to court in order to avoid getting penalty points.

He said that in November, prosecutions will be commenced against people in order to deal with “this unacceptable behaviour”.

“The Gardai, Minister Fitzgerald and I have commenced a number of steps in relation to. What you will see across November is a number of cases being under taken to prosecute those individuals who fail to produce their driving licences in court and did not produce them,” he said.

“This is to deal with a behaviour which is in my view unacceptable. We are now working on a new independent database , that will integrate details of someone’s driving licence and their vehicle to deal with this matter once and for all and we are going to deal with the funding of this in the context of the Budget that is now approaching,” Mr Donohoe added.

At the launch, Mr Donohoe, senior Gardai and the Road Safety Authority highlighted the dangers of people buying used tyres and also the failure of a large majority of people to regularly check their tyres.

A survey of 1,000 motorists, conducted by the RSA showed that while 8 out of 10 drivers know how to check their tyre pressure, just 1 in 10 do so on a regular basis.

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