Tuesday 20 February 2018

Tailgaters face court after crackdown on toll dodging

A motorist is caught on camera tailgating a lorry on the
M50 in this picture supplied by eFlow
A motorist is caught on camera tailgating a lorry on the M50 in this picture supplied by eFlow

Paul Melia

MORE than 100 drivers will be prosecuted in the courts after being caught tailgating on the M50 in an effort to avoid the €3 toll.

The motorists will appear in court in the coming months after being caught carrying out the highly dangerous manoeuvre.

New figures from motorway operators eFlow show that more than 70 drivers every day are being caught on camera risking their lives by tailgating.

The motorists were caught driving just four feet behind heavy goods vehicles in an attempt to avoid their front number plates being captured by cameras mounted above the motorway.

Gardai began a campaign in recent weeks using unmarked cars to capture offenders.

The crop of more than 100 drivers caught by gardai face the prospect of fines of up to €5,000 and the imposition of five penalty points on their licence.

"They will be charged with one of three offences -- dangerous driving, careless driving or driving without due care and attention," Assistant Commissioner John Twomey told the Irish Independent.

"A lot of the work was covert, using unmarked cars, and we stopped the drivers at the side of the road. It was a combination of people, including business people, driving a wide range of cars."

Gardai mounted the crackdown after chilling CCTV images were released earlier this year by eFlow, which operates the tolling system on the M50, showing drivers travelling just a few feet behind trucks.

The front number plates of vehicles are captured by cameras fitted on gantries above the road, but some motorists found that driving close to a high truck meant their number plate could not be recorded.

However, last March new cameras were fitted that capture the front and rear plates, meaning evading the toll is practically impossible.

The company eFlow said that instances of tailgating had reduced by 134 per day -- eight weeks after the introduction of rear-facing cameras.

In March, an average of 208 motorists were caught tailgating each day. This has since fallen to 74 per day.

"Rear-facing cameras are having the desired effect; however, there remains a small number of motorists who continue to offend," said eFlow director of communications Simon McBeth.

Irish Independent

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