Tuesday 14 August 2018

Lives are being lost because drivers don't fear our broken penalty points system

Susan Gray

PARC road safety group came into being as a result of my husband Steve's death in a road traffic collision in 2004, and my subsequent anger at the manner in which the investigation was carried out by the gardaí at the time.

PARC recently took an interest in checking if our laws were effective or not in bringing about safer roads. We acted on an article in the Irish Independent reporting that 96pc of drivers avoided penalty points by not presenting their licences in court. We attended courts and spoke with the then-Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, who took immediate action and enacted legislation to close the loophole in 2011. However it took until May 2012, after many questions to the then-Minister for Justice Alan Shatter for the wording of summonses issued to be amended by the Courts Service to inform drivers that they must bring not only their licence but also a copy to facilitate the recording of the licence number.

We then undertook to visit various courts and produced a report. Alarmed at our findings that drivers were not being required in many courts to produce their licence to record the licence number - without this the penalty points awarded were meaningless - we set about asking questions.

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