It's unacceptable that motorists can use loophole to evade points, says Donohoe
Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe has said it is "absolutely unacceptable" that motorists are evading penalty points by failing to bring driving licences to court.
The Irish Independent yesterday revealed plans to link driving licences to vehicle registrations in an attempt to clamp down on motorists avoiding penalty points through a legal loophole.
More than 20,000 drivers have been avoiding penalty points by failing to bring their driving licences to court - the points are not automatically recorded on their licence.
Mr Donohoe said he was working with Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on new legislation to clamp down on penalty point evaders.
"I believe it is absolutely unacceptable that anybody who goes to court due to committing a series of road traffic offences or a road traffic offence that is so serious that of itself could merit losing their licence - when that person gets to court, measures are taken that evade the sanction the courts and our justice system places on them," he said.
He added: "That is why earlier on this year I brought into law the ability for the gardaí to immediately arrest anybody who is driving while disqualified and I am working with the Minister for Justice to look at other measures that will allow us deal with behaviour that is unacceptable in our courts, and unacceptable in a country looking to make our roads safer."
Seven in 10 motorists convicted of penalty-point offences have avoided penalty points being added to their licence by not bringing the document to court.
Under new plans, a register will be accessible to the Courts Services, the gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA), which it is hoped will make evading penalty points more difficult.
Currently, the RSA have difficulty applying penalty points when licences are not provided in court.
Gardaí are also moving to prosecute motorists who fail to produce driving licences in court when charged with offences.