andMr. McQuillan asked the Minister for Local Government whether he has issued any regulations under the new Road Traffic Act in regard to the parking of vehicles; if so, what was the date of issue and the S.I. number; and whether it is prescribed in these or previous regulations that parking lights must be left on in a vehicle left overnight in an approved parking place.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Road Traffic Regulations: Parking of Vehicles.
Section 11 of the Road Traffic Act, 1961, which enables me to make regulations regarding the lighting of vehicles is not being brought into operation until the regulations on the various subjects dealt with in the section have been prepared. In the meantime the lighting provisions of the Road Traffic Act, 1933, and the regulations thereunder apply. These include Article 5 of the Lighting of Vehicles Regulations, 1934, which exempts any vehicle which is stationary in a parking place within the meaning of that Act from any provision requiring the carrying of a lamp on such vehicle. Parking places under the 1933 Act are appointed by the various local byelaws made by the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána with my consent.
Is the Minister aware there is a great deal of confusion in the public mind at the moment in regard to parking regulations and the question of having sidelights on at night? Is he aware that in a number of towns the Gardaí have strictly enforced what would appear to be regulations under the new Act? The Gardaí are insisting that cars have parking lights from lighting-up time on, while in other towns in similar streets, no effort is made to implement this regulation. Would the Minister realise that I am trying to clarify for the public whether it is mandatory to have parking lights on after lighting-up time in main thoroughfares and streets where there is public lighting?
I understand what the Deputy is trying to clarify, but I am afraid I am not in a position to answer his question. The question as to whether or not a vehicle should be lighted could not possibly be dealt with in a global answer.
I appreciate that. There is a danger, however, that the public will become annoyed and irritated. If that happens, it is quite likely that the same disregard will be shown for this as was shown for the licensing laws over past years. I want to see an Act that will meet with the approval of the public. At the moment they are confused. Could the Minister clarify that in an announcement or in some other way?
I appreciate there may be some confusion in the minds of some people as a result of the different application of the existing law. The law in regard to this question of parking lights has not yet been changed. It is the old law under the 1933 Act that is being invoked and applied—more rigorously, I should say, in some cases than in others. The parking of vehicles in dangerous places is being dealt with very rigorously by the Garda on the instructions of the Commissioner.
As far as the question of showing parking lights in streets during lighting-up hours is concerned, while I am aware that some confusion may appear to exist, I am also unaware that any prosecution has resulted from this confusion. If there is anything further I can do to clarify the situation, I shall be only too glad to do it.