Saturday 10 December 2016

Points dodgers targeted by driver register

Published 04/08/2015 | 02:30

A new central register will be accessible to the Court Service, the gardaí and the Road Safety Authority, which is responsible for allocation of penalty points
A new central register will be accessible to the Court Service, the gardaí and the Road Safety Authority, which is responsible for allocation of penalty points

Every vehicle on the road will be linked directly to the driver's licence for the first time, in a radical overhaul to ensure penalty points effectively punish those who commit motoring offences.

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A new central register will be accessible to the Court Service, the gardaí and the Road Safety Authority, which is responsible for allocation of penalty points.

The move is being considered by a high-level working group as a way of closing off loopholes being exploited by rogue drivers.

It would see car owners being required to provide licence details when they purchase a car, and each time they transfer ownership, so a vehicle would always be linked to its driver or drivers.

The move addresses problems which have dogged enforcement of the penalty points system for years. These include the failure by seven motorists out of every 10 convicted of penalty point offences to produce their licence in court, thus avoiding having the points applied to their licence.

It has also emerged that only one in every 25 motorists disqualified from driving in court in recent years has actually surrendered their licence.

Just 1,091 of the 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.

If a licence is not surrendered, the RSA sends out reminders to the motorist and informs gardaí.

But the Irish Independent understands that just six prosecutions have been taken for the non-surrendering of licences since the beginning of last year.

The figures have prompted fears that large numbers of disqualified drivers may be continuing to take to the roads.

It is thought that the proposed new scheme linking licences with cars would get rid of the need to record licence numbers in courts.

Instead, there would be a central register where these details are stored.

Irish Independent

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