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Here's how many times motorists got caught speeding last year - and how many got disqualified

By far, the most common offence detected and which led to a driver being disqualified is speeding.

File photo. Garda checkpoint in Dublin
File photo. Garda checkpoint in Dublin
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

THERE WERE AT least 1,473 drivers disqualified from driving last year with over 178,268 offences committed resulting in penalty points issued across the country. 

By far, the most common offence was speeding – there were over 114,000 instances where penalty points issued for this offence in the first 11 months of 2019.

When it comes to drivers currently banned from the roads, over 1,500 of them are banned due to speeding offences which is just over half of the total disqualified from the roads.

These figures were released by Minister for Transport Shane Ross via parliamentary question.

They contain a detailed breakdown of

  • Penalty points issued by county,
  • The number of speeding offences by speed limit breached and,
  • What currently disqualified drivers got banned for.

Banned

banned drivers

The number of people banned from driving in the past three years has stayed largely consistent.

In 2017, 1,429 drivers were disqualified. In 2018, this rose to 1,527. And, in the first 11 months of 2019, 1,473 drivers were disqualified.

In all of these cases, the offence listed is what put the driver over the 12 penalty points which resulted in them being disqualified.

Of the drivers currently disqualified, 378 of them were disqualified for driving while holding a mobile phone. 

Failure to obey traffic lights resulted in 67 people being disqualified from driving.

One person was banned for not wearing a seat belt, and 126 were disqualified for not having insurance. 

Not having an NCT certificate resulted in 160 drivers being disqualified.

Speeding

Currently, legislation for penalising speeding doesn’t distinguish between the degree to which drivers exceed the limit.

However, Minister for Transport Shane Ross has proposed a new system that would see drivers who exceed the limit by more than 30km/ph face a court prosecution and a €2,000 fine. 

The new law will also see drivers that record minor infringements of the speed limit, of between zero to 10km/ph, get fewer penalty points than is currently the norm. 

Currently, speeding of any kind carries a fixed charge fine of €80, along with three penalty points. 

Under the new rules, drivers who record minor infringements will only get two penalty points along with a €60 fine.

Anyone speeding between 10km/ph and 20 km/ph over the limit will receive three penalty points, and a €80 fine, with those caught speeding between 20km/ph and 30 km/ph over the limit getting a €100 fine and four penalty points. 

“It will be graduated, the more you break the speed limit the more you’ll be punished – there will be higher penalty points,” Ross said at the time he proposed the new measures. 

Of the 114,000 speeding offences detected from January to November last year, Ross also gave a breakdown of the speed limit which was exceeded when releasing the figures.

Last year:

  • 348 motorists were caught exceeded a 30km/ph speed limit.
  • 38,060 were detected exceeding a 50km/ph speed limit.
  • 19,367 were detected exceeding a 60km/ph speed limit.
  • 14,255 were detected exceeding a 80km/ph speed limit.
  • 19,944 were detected exceeding a 100km/ph speed limit.
  • 12,787 were detected exceeding a 120km/ph speed limit.

Ross said in answer to the parliamentary question: “I am proposing to bring in a fairer, more proportionate system which will distinguish between those who may be only slightly in excess of the relevant speed limit and those who are driving well in excess of the maximum legal limit applying.”

Driving offences

When it comes to general penalty points, only two counties had in excess of 10,000 drivers issued with points (Cork and Dublin with 17,701 and 36,637 respectively).

There were also 19,080 offences committed by drivers with licences registered outside the State.

Similarly to those who’d been disqualified from driving, the most common offence for those issued with penalty points was driving while using a mobile phone with 25,436 such offences.

Driving without an NCT was the next most common with 6,171 offences. 

Other common offences including driving without reasonable consideration (4,906 offences detected last year), adult failing to wear a seat belt (3,891 offences) and failure to obey traffic lights (3,974 offences). 

On the other end of the spectrum, there were a number of offences that were only detected on one occasion throughout the entire country last year. 

They included:

  • Driving from right lane to another without yielding
  • Driver owner exceeding design gross vehicle weight

Traffic reforms

On New Year’s Day, statistics published by the gardaí showed that there was a 45% increase in the number of driver deaths on Irish roads in 2019.

Road Safety Authority chairperson Liz O’Donnell that, after 2018 being the safest year recorded on Irish roads, it was “deeply saddening” that road deaths increased last year.

Minister Ross said in November that the country had “reached a point where it is increasingly difficult to reduce road deaths further”.

“This can hardly be acceptable,” he said. “If we are to make real progress on continuing the reduction of fatalities on our roads, we need to address the central problem of speeding.”

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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