Just one in 25 disqualified drivers actually surrendered their licence
Published 04/08/2015 | 02:30
Only one in every 25 motorists disqualified from driving in court in recent years has actually surrendered their licence.
Figures provided by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) reveal the vast majority of drivers are refusing to hand over their licences when hit with a ban.
The figures have prompted fears that large numbers of disqualified drivers continue to take to the roads.
Just 1,091 of 25,233 motorists banned in court between January 2013 and March of this year surrendered their licence to the RSA, as they are obliged to do.
The issue is compounded by the fact that few disqualified motorists have their licence numbers recorded in court.
Data released to the PARC road safety group showed that 89pc of drivers disqualified in court did not have their licence numbers recorded. Although their names, addresses and the duration of their ban would have been recorded on the Courts Service's Criminal Case Tracking System, and subsequently sent electronically to the RSA and gardaí, more often than not licence numbers were not included.
The RSA said it was reliant on the Courts Service for this information, so that it can more easily identify which drivers have had their licences suspended.
However, the Courts Service said it was not required by legislation to record the licence numbers of disqualified drivers.
"It is not part of our function. We are not involved in that element of the process," said a spokesman. "The legal obligation is for the driver to surrender their licence."
If a licence is not surrendered, the RSA sends out reminders to the motorist and informs gardaí.
However, the Irish Independent understands just six prosecutions have been taken for the non-surrender of licences since the start of 2014.
An RSA spokesman said the non-surrendering of licences was an issue of concern.