Drivers must have licence in court or face jail
Published 14/03/2014 | 02:30
MOTORISTS face being hit with fines of €1,000 and up to three months imprisonment if they fail to take their driving licence to court.
The Courts Service will begin passing details of offenders to Gardai in the "near future", which will effectively close a loophole that allowed drivers to avoid points.
More than 80,000 motorists hit with a fixed-charge notice, or penalty point offence, who did not pay and were summonsed to court avoided the points because they did not take their licence to court.
First revealed by the Irish Independent early in 2010, the loophole has remained in place for the past four years.
The points were avoided because court registrars did not have access to the driving licence number, needed so the points can be applied to the correct driver. In other cases, drivers did not attend court, meaning that while their conviction could be recorded, their driver number could not.
Since 2012, each summons issued has advised motorists to take their licence to court, and only when the new system is introduced will the Courts Service be in a position to provide gardai with the names of those who do not comply.
"We hope in the very near future to be in a position to be able to pass on the details of those who don't produce their licences in court to An Garda Siochana," a spokesman for the Courts Service said.
"We are working on the appropriate legal mechanisms to report failure to produce licences in court."
It is understood that a legal certificate, signed by the court registrar, could be used to notify gardai that an offence has been committed.
The move comes after the Garda Inspectorate report into the penalty points system recommended that a system be introduced "immediately" to ensure that all penalty points were endorsed on driving licences.