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Penalty point dodgers who fail to produce a driving licence in court could face prosecution

A report recently highlighted the problem of non-endorsement of driving licences with penalty points.
Jun 22nd 2015, 2:15 PM 15,862 19

Updated 14.15pm

THE GARDAÍ ARE to commence prosecutions of motorists for the failure to present
driving licenses in court, targeting multiple locations nationwide.

The issue was identified in recent Garda Inspectorate report on Fixed Charge Processing System and related Road Safety Issues.

Figures from the court service indicate that in 2014 there were 21,709 persons convicted under the Road Traffic Act of a Penalty Point offence.

However, only 8,059 persons had their Driver Licence Number recorded on the Criminal Case Tracking System (CCTS).

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said the Courts Service and the gardaí have identified a method of identification for those that fail to produce a licence and it’s expected cases will come before the courts for hearing in the coming months.

Today she welcomed the plans stating that she was concerned about the latest figures which indicate that a large proportion of people coming before the courts on road traffic
offences were not presenting their licences and in many cases not receiving penalty points.

She said there must be a “no way-out for anybody” who have got penalty points awarded to them.

It is essential that our Road Traffic Laws are both respected and enforced.Enforcement and prosecution of offences in this area is critical to publicsafety and to reducing deaths on our roads.

Driving licences 

The gardaí confirmed that “a multi-agency approach” was required to solve the issue and as a result a working group was established under the Departments of Transport and Justice last year.

The report found that there is not a robust follow-up system in place to track down these individuals in order to ensure that the full penalty is imposed and the licence is endorsed.

This is a serious issue as it appears that 2 out of 3 offenders are not having penalty points attached to their licences even though they are guilty of a road traffic offence.

Court

Thomas Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald in a recent parliamentary question to address the issue.

Fitzgerald said the Courts Service informed her that 7,790 defendants were listed for court for drink driving prosecutions in 2014 with 983 driving licence numbers recorded.

It should be noted that the information provided by the Courts Service relates to all drink driving prosecutions in 2014, whether or not the summons was served. In addition, some of the prosecutions may be ongoing.
I am informed that where an accused is summonsed to appear before a Court in respect of a penalty point offence and is convicted of the offence, if a driving licence is not produced to the Court, the Court Registrar records on the Court Minute Book or on the summons that no driving licence was produced.

The minister said the non-production of the driving licence is recorded whether or not the accused appears before the court, however, the Courts Service computer system does not currently support the updating of data in relation to the non-production of driving licences in court.

I want to assure the Deputy that my Department is in contact with the relevant agencies with a view to ensuring that the most efficient and effective processing and recording of data in respect of non-production of licences is in place.I am informed that An Garda Síochána and the Courts Service are actively engaged in a process that will facilitate prosecution of those who fail to produce a driving licence or permit and the copy of a licence or permit before the Courts.

First published 12.45pm

Read: Where in Ireland gets the most penalty points?>

Read: Drinks companies could soon be hit with a ‘social responsibility levy’>

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Christina Finn

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