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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Plan to put the brakes on legal loophole in speeding cases

Published 17/04/2014 | 02:30

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A garda speedtrap on the Navan Road. Photo: Collins
A garda speedtrap on the Navan Road. Photo: Collins

Gardai are planning a clampdown on a legal loophole which allows motorists to avoid prosecution for speeding.

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Drivers are avoiding punishment by telling the courts they did not receive fixed-term notices for breaking speed limits. But new rules will force drivers to pay fines and incur penalty points when they come before the courts.

Fine Gael TD Sean Conlan was one of seven people who had their cases thrown out by Monaghan District Court this week because they claimed they did not receive a speeding charge.

Garda National Traffic Bureau Superintendent Cornelius O'Donohoe told an Oireachtas Transport Committee yesterday the loophole was addressed in the 2010 Road Traffic Act but the law had yet to be implemented.

"It would remove the defence for somebody to say they didn't get the notice in defending their case because, as part of the summons, they would be given a fixed fine," he said.

The Irish Independent understands Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has been seeking to address the issure for some time.

A Transport Department spokesman said the minister was "pleased significant progress is being made".

"The objective is to have this important arrangement in place as quickly as possible," he added

The Criminal Justice Working Group, established as part of the Garda Inspectorate's report on penalty points, is currently discussing the issues and treating it as a priority.

One of the mains issues the group will address is determining which agency will fund the necessary IT system needed for recording the offences.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Transport Committee member Patrick O'Donovan called for the loophole to be "tightened up" urgently.

"The suggestion been made to me is this is a bigger problem than just one or two," he said.

Speaking at the committee hearing, TD Noel Harrington said there was a perception people were getting away with speeding and the authorities needed to "nail" the problem.

Irish Independent

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