Written Answers. - Legislative Programme.

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

121 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Transport when he intends to enact the remaining sections of the Road Traffic Act 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2654/03]

Pádraic McCormack

Question:

126 Mr. McCormack asked the Minister for Transport when he intends to enact all sections of the Road Traffic Act 2002; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2655/03]

I propose to take Questions Nos. 121 and 126 together.

The key provisions of the Road Traffic Act 2002 provide for the introduction of a penalty points system for a wide range of motoring offences. Sections of the Act that relate both directly and indirectly to the operation of penalty points were commenced with effect from 31 October 2002 to facilitate the operation of that system in respect of speeding offences.

In addition to the sections relating directly to the penalty points system – sections 2 to 7 – those sections relating to the introduction of a fixed charge system to replace the current on the spot fine system – section 11 – increases in the general penalties – section 23 – and the extension of the use of electronic equipment for the detection of offences – section 21 – were also commenced with effect from 31 October 2002.

The requirement for full and provisional licence holders to carry their licence as set out in section 18 of the Act, and a provision that local authorities can make arrangement for the functions conferred on traffic wardens to be carried out by persons employed by the authority, or persons authorised in writing to perform those functions – section 12(2) – have been commenced since 1 January 2003.

Section 15 empowers local authorities to decide on the number and location of taxi stands and to govern their operation. This responsibility was previously vested in the Garda commissioner with the consent of the Minister. I have signed a commencement order bringing this section into operation with effect from 1 February 2003. The extension of the operation of the penalty points system to all of the offences listed in the First Schedule of the Act will be pursued with a view to applying the penalty points system fully by the end of 2003. The necessary preparatory work to facilitate commencement of the remaining sections of the Act is under way in my Department in consultation with the Garda Síochána and the local authorities.