Thursday 23 October 2014

Wrangle over IT systems causes delay in company car penalty points law by four years

Shane Phelan, Public Affairs Editor

Published 19/06/2014 | 13:16

Company car drivers can still avoid points. Picture posed. Thinkstock

FOUR-year-old legislation which would allow drivers of company cars to receive penalty points has yet to be enacted, the Dail's spending watchdog has heard.

The Department of Transport admitted the 2010 legislation was never signed into law due to a wrangle involving gardai and the Courts Service over who would pay for new IT systems needed to make another aspects of the same legislation work.

Its secretary general, Tom O'Mahony, told the Public Accounts Committee that the issue was close to being sorted out, but it would still be another year before the legislation is enacted.

Under the current law governing the issue, which has been in place since 2004, the company owning the car pays a fine if an employee commits a road traffic offence, but no points are recorded.

Laws drafted in 2010 were to give gardai powers to make inquiries with employers so they could ascertain who was driving the car and apply points to their licence.

"Unfortunately this was never signed into law," said Mr O'Mahony.

He said this was because of difficulties with another aspect of the legislation, the so-called "third payment" provision.

This would allow motorist to pay a higher fine rather than going to court if they failed to pay a fine at the first two times of asking. He said this has not been implemented because money has not been available to the gardai or the Court Service to put in place an IT system to deal with the "third payment" option.

Mr O'Mahony said that as both measures were in the same piece of legislation, neither could be enacted until the IT system wrangle was resolved.

He said "a major effort" was being made to do this and the money would now be provided by the department for it. He said the gardai would administer the IT system.

But he added it would be "some time over the next year" before it would be finally resolved.

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