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Penalty points licence loophole set to be closed

THE Government is moving to close a loophole that has allowed thousands of drivers to escape penalty points.

Drivers who appear in court to contest motoring offences will soon be slapped with large fines unless they now bring their driving licences.

Some 85,000 motorists have managed to avoid penalty points by turning up in court without their liciences.

And they are not breaking any rules, because the courts do not require them to bring their licences.

It means the most serious offenders are getting away without penalty points, because the court clerk cannot process the penalty for the national driver file.



Escaped

However it emerged today that Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is moving to close the loophole next month.

Recent figures show that hundreds of thousands of drivers have escaped penalty points because of different loopholes.

Government sources have revealed that Varadkar is determined to move "speedily" to ensure penalty points cannot be avoided.

Legislation brought in last year is not being applied because the wording was not changed to force motorists to bring their licences to court.

Despite Section 63 of the Road Traffic Act (2010) being signed off by Varadkar, the loophole still exists.

The law requires a motorist charged with a road traffic offence to bring his driving licence into court; however the wording blunder means drivers can get away without any documentation.

Figures reveal that close to 84,000 escaped penalty points because of the loophole. Varadkar stated that the loophole will be amended by May 16.

The Herald has previously revealed that 216,000 motorists have avoided fines over the past 10 years because they hold a foreign licence.

This new loophole emerged because the computer system in An Garda Siochana and the Courts Service were not updated to allow new government measures to be rolled out.

hnews@herald.ie


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