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Penalty Points

These counties have highest number of drivers dodging penalty points by making donations

The Department of Justice has reported that 1,526 drivers avoided penalty points by donating to the court poor box from January 2014- May 2015.

DRIVERS ACROSS THE country are continuing to avoid penalty points by making donations to the poor box, despite a High Court ruling stating that this was incorrect.

Figures provided by the Department of Justice show that 70% of motorists who were before the courts with penalty point offences in Kenmare, Co Kerry were able to donate to the poor box.

Cork had the highest number of drivers given the poor box in court, with 420 motorists avoiding points by making a contribution between January 2014-May 2015.

In Mallow, 34% (199) of those before the courts on penalty point offences received the court box, while 21% (72 drivers) used it in in Fermoy and 17% (56 drivers) in Macroom.

shutterstock_235917724 Shutterstock / Kichigin Shutterstock / Kichigin / Kichigin

Three hundred and thirty motorists were given the poor box in the Dublin Metropolitan area during that time, while 114 people avoided points in Waterford, 80 of which were in the Dungarvan district.

The figures, which were presented to Independent TD Tommy Broughan following a Parliamentary Question to the Justice Minister, show 1,526 drivers avoided penalty points from January 2014- May 2015.

However Parc, a road safety group that is made up of people who have lost family in crashes, does not believe this is the true figure. It says that many district court figures are missing in the calculations.

90391394 Mark Stedman Mark Stedman

In a statement, the group said: “Survivors of road traffic collisions and bereaved families find it completely unacceptable and extremely insulting that thousands of drivers have evaded penalty points by virtue of the courts poor box.

“Those appearing in court on penalty point offences are either guilty or not guilty of breaking Road Traffic laws. If found guilty they must be convicted and subsequently penalty points applied to their licences.

To be able to buy your way out of penalty points for charity must not be an option and according to Section 55 of the Road Traffic Act 2010 it is not an option, yet it is happening in many courts up and down the country.

shutterstock_228630601 Shutterstock / Valentijn Tempels Shutterstock / Valentijn Tempels / Valentijn Tempels

It also acknowledged that many judges have stopped using the poor box in recent times.

However, while 24 courts completely stopped using the poor box for penalty points in the first five months of the year, some actually increased the use of donations in that time.

The District Courts which increased the use of the poor box were Bantry, Carlow, Fermoy, Gorey, Kilkenny, Macroom, Manorhamilton, Portlaoise, Tubbercurry, Tullamore and Virginia.

Parc, Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our Roads, added, “These errors in law allowing some of our most dangerous drivers to remain on our roads should not be happening.

The use of the poor box makes the rest of us road users much more vulnerable. Its use trivialises what is very serious crimes

“It is offensive to those who were robbed of loved ones through road traffic collisions and those injured who together with family and friends will forever live with the fallout of those injuries.”

Read: Courts ‘poor box’ to be scrapped in favour ‘more transparent’ reparations fund>

Read: Emergency law closes drink-driving loophole>

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