Parking fines will be cut by half if paid within fortnight
PARKING fines will be cut by half if they are paid within a fortnight, under plans being considered by the Government.
And the last known owners of dumped cars will be liable for penalty points, under a range of measures suggested for new traffic laws.
The Oireachtas Transport Committee has made a series of recommendations to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar on the Road Traffic Bill 2011
It said that the charge for illegally parking a vehicle should fall from €40 to €20 if motorists pay up within 14 days of the fine being issued.
Committee chairman, Labour TD Ciaran Lynch, said reducing the amount would also help lower administration costs while encouraging people to pay on time.
"We believe that by discounting fines for parking tickets, motorists will be encouraged to pay in a timely fashion -- such a system has proved very effective in Northern Ireland," Mr Lynch said.
In Northern Ireland, a parking ticket is £60 (€69) but just £30 if paid within 14 days. Up to 56 days the fine is £60, after which it rises to £90.
In the Republic, the fine is €40 which rises to €60 if not paid within 56 days.
Local authorities are owed more than €1m in unpaid parking fines, so transport officials are looking for ways to get people to pay them quickly.
The Oireachtas committee also said that the last registered owners of dumped cars should be traced, to ensure they take responsibility for their safe disposal. The last known owners would also be liable for penalty points under the proposals.
It wants learner drivers to take a driving test within a specific timeframe, and to make driving instruction compulsory on the school curriculum.
Meanwhile, the Department of Transport has said the first 'credit card' size driving licences will be issued next year, and that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) will also take over control of issuing driving licences.
Mr Varadkar insisted yesterday that the new licence would be more convenient, more user-friendly and more durable than the existing paper one.
The eventual aim is to have details of motoring offences, such as penalty points contained on the computer-chip licence.
However, this is unlikely to happen for several years as gardai first have to be issued with special scanners to read the details. There is no timeframe for bringing the scanners in.
Under EU regulations, the new plastic driving licences must be in place by January 2013. The minister said he has asked the RSA to deliver the plastic card as a matter of priority.
"The RSA will deal with everything from applications for a learner permit, through to the driving test and then the issue of the driver licence," he said.
"The transition from the existing system will take place as quickly as possible and the outcome will be a modern, online system that is accessible to all."