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Penalty points loophole to be closed by government

The loophole has seen roughly 7,500 cases annually thrown out of court.

28/8/2015 Garda Checkpoints Source: Mark Stedman

THE GOVERNMENT HAS moved to close an outstanding legal loophole which has seen a huge amount of Irish drivers escaping penalty points charges.

Under the current legal framework, if a driver fails to pay a fixed charge penalty notice within 56 days, a court summons follows.

However, if that driver should claim in court that the initial charge was never received by post, the case has often been dismissed by the courts.

In fact the Department of Justice says that in the region of 7,500 such cases are being dismissed annually at present.

Now, a new bill launched by the Departments of Justice and Transport will attempt to close that loophole.

In essence, the Summons Printing and Fixed Charge Notice Bill will provide a Third Payment alternative to a court summons.

This Third Payment mechanism will basically see those charged paying double the initial fine with all penalty points likewise being endorsed on the individual’s licence.

“The scheme published today will provide essential technical and administrative measures to address a situation whereby some persons responsible for road traffic offences may not incur fines or penalty points for technical reasons,” Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said today.

It will essentially restore fairness to the system.

It’s understood that the new regulations, if adopted, will likewise see proof of postage of a fixed charge penalty notice count as ‘proof of delivery’, putting the onus on the driver served with the notice to prove that they did not in fact receive it.

While such an act may of course succeed, should it fail the number of points endorsed on a driving licence would increase from three points to five.

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