Wednesday 7 December 2016

Setback after setback in bid to improve safety

Published 19/08/2010 | 05:00

ALMOST every attempt to change our road safety laws has been met by roadblocks and legal problems:

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Dangerous drivers escaping penalty points:

LAST February, the Irish Independent revealed dangerous drivers were escaping penalty points because court clerks were not recording the licence numbers of guilty drivers who failed to produce their licences in court. This meant the Road Safety Authority could not apply the points.

It emerged 18,383 drivers had been convicted of any one of 10 offences that involved a mandatory court appearance. But just 727 of these had the points applied. The remaining 17,656 escaped punishment because clerks were not legally entitled to demand driver licences and record their numbers.

The loophole was closed in the 2010 Road Traffic Act.

Mutual recognition of penalty points:

MOVES to clamp down on those who escape penalty points because they do not have an Irish licence are still being negotiated.

If successful, it would mean that someone caught speeding in the Republic would have the points applied to their Northern Irish licence and vice versa.

The EU is also looking at the issue, but significant legal hurdles must be overcome as individual member states apply different points for similar offences.

Drink-driving limit:

PLANS to lower the limit from 80mgs of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mgs were supposed to have been in place by the second half of last year.

Delays in drafting the legislation, coupled with bitter opposition from publicans and backbench TDs, mean they have yet to come into force.

Speed cameras:

FIRST proposed in 1999 and expected to have been rolled out in January last year, the cameras will not be delivered until October.

Lengthy contract negotiations delayed the project, which will result in 45 mobile cameras being used to monitor 600 accident blackspots nationwide.

Learner drivers:

NOEL Dempsey sparked panic in October 2007 when he announced learner drivers on their second provisional driving licences would have to be accompanied by fully licensed drivers in a matter of days.

It emerged gardai were not informed of the crackdown, leading to the announcement of a 'bedding-in' period for the law.

Irish Independent

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