Sunday 25 August 2019

Concern over 'absolutely incredible' disparities of almost 50pc in driver license recording rates

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Stock image

Ralph Riegel

A ROAD safety campaign group has expressed concern at shocking disparities of between 5pc and 54pc in the driving license recording rates between district courts nationwide.

PARC said the statistics raised major questions about the recording of license details following drink driving convictions in court - and the effectiveness of liaison systems between various agencies involved in collating such data.

New figures, obtained by Independent TD Tommy Broughan, revealed a shockingly low rate of such license recordings in district courts nationwide - raising fears that some drivers may continue using their cars despite being disqualified.

There are also fears that some drivers are deliberately not bringing their licenses to court for such prosecutions.

PARC stressed that it was vital Gardaí and the new garda hand-held mobile systems are provided with the most accurate and up-to-date information to ensure the detection of all those who should not be driving.

In Kerry, just 16 licenses were recorded out of 339 people convicted of drink driving between January 2017 and May 2019 - a recording rate of just 5pc.

In Limerick, out of 469 drink driving cases, just 32 license details were recorded - a rate of just 7pc.

Dublin had 465 license details recorded out of a total of 1492, a rate of 31pc.

Cork had 329 license details recorded out of a total of 1317, a rate of 25pc.

The highest compliance rates are in Longford (54pc) and Wexford (47pc).

Nationally, the compliance rate is just 25pc - 2347 licenses recorded out of a total of 9205.

The individual district court with the highest recording rate was Dungarvan at 80pc for drink driving cases.

Other recording rates were Donegal (14pc), Leitrim (37pc), Sligo (37pc), Monaghan (15pc), Mayo (45pc), Louth (5pc), Clare (45pc), Limerick (7pc), Offaly (18pc), Carlow (38pc), Wicklow (36pc), Tipperary (23pc), Roscommon (15pc), Westmeath (45pc), Cavan (28pc), Meath (10pc), Galway (20pc), Laois (12pc), Kildare (29pc), Kilkenny (34pc) and Waterford (25pc).

While license infractions can also be recorded by Gardaí, PARC queried why there was such a disparity between district courts nationwide.

PARC founder Susan Gray said it was "absolutely incredible" that drivers were apparently being convicted of serious Road Traffic Act offences and yet recording their license details appeared to be haphazard.

"How an earth can someone convicted of something as serious as drink driving be able to leave a court without having handed over their license and without having had their license details recorded immediately? It is absolutely incredible," she said.

The Department of Justice is currently reviewing all road traffic regulations, in consultation with the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

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