Road Traffic Bill 2009: Report Stage (Resumed) and Final Stage

Amendment No. 46 not moved.

Amendments Nos. 47 and 48 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 47:

In page 48, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:

"(a) in Part I, by the addition of an entry assigning 4 penalty points to all haulage related offences including any breach of tachograph and drivers’ hours regulations, and the EU Working Time Directive;”.

I have changed these amendments slightly since I tabled them on Committee Stage. Before we suspended the sitting, we had a discussion on the failure to invigilate tachographs, the EU working time directive and the dangers of HGVs. As a response to this, will the Minister consider assigning four penalty points to all haulage offences of this nature?

Amendment No. 48 was proposed by people working in the disability sector who are outraged by able bodied people parking in disability parking bays. The Minister said on Committee Stage that he would prefer sanctions for such an offence to be those set out by local authorities such as clamping. I was strongly urged to make this offence attract penalty points because it is a serious offence. We had intended to seek two penalty points for the offence but, given a driver will be given three penalty points for his first drink driving offence with a blood alcohol level of between 50 mg and 80 mg, one penalty point would be appropriate. Will the Minister consider these amendments?

The Deputy's description of the regime applying to the hours of haulage drivers, tachographs and so on was true some years back but over the past number of years there has been a sea change, with an increase in activity regarding all these offences. There was a time we were not up to date in discharging our EU obligations and so on but that is no longer the case. That has changed significantly.

When the Deputy raised these issues on Committee Stage, I said it was my intention to examine the range of offences that attract penalty points and the penalty points system itself to ascertain whether a readjustment needs to take place. Work is under way on that in the Department. An examination of the operation of the current penalty points system is currently taking place with the aim of identifying priorities for the roll-out of the next stage of the system and any changes generally. The Deputy's amendment is a little premature because we are not finished work in this regard. I do not want to do this in a piecemeal manner.

The fixed penalty charge for illegal parking in a disabled bay, at €80, is twice the amount of the general parking fixed charge penalty, and this signifies how seriously we take it. With the sole exception of dangerous parking, which is likely to cause injury or death, all of the general traffic offences that are or will be included under the penalty points regime are moving offences, and I do not want to change this. For all these reasons, as well as those I outlined on Committee Stage, I do not intend to change the penalty points system. However, I am more than willing to engage with the Deputy and the committee in discussing how it might be changed in the future. I would rather change the system in its totality than do it piecemeal in this Bill.

Amendment put and declared lost.

I move amendment No. 48:

In page 48, between lines 28 and 29, to insert the following:

"(a) in Part I, by the addition of an entry assigning 1 penalty point to the offence of parking in a disability parking bay;".

Amendment put and declared lost.
Amendment No. 49 not moved.

I move amendment No. 50:

In page 55, line 14, after "permit" to insert "or produces the licence or permit".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 51:

In page 56, to delete lines 38 to 42.

This is another technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 52:

In page 57, line 6, to delete "40(1)" and substitute "40".

Again, this is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 53:

In page 57, line 7, to delete "section 33 of the Road Traffic Act 2004" and substitute "section 58 of the Road Traffic Act 2010".

Again, this is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 54:

In page 57, line 10, after "licence" to insert "or learner permit".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 55:

In page 58, line 34, to delete "(1A)" and substitute "(2)".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 56:

In page 59, line 22, after "licence" to insert "or permit".

Again, this is a technical amendment. It would be good if these had been grouped.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 57:

In page 59, line 23, after "licence" to insert "or permit".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 58:

In page 59, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"(2) It is an offence to present a foreign driving licence to a member of An Garda Síochána for a motoring offence if the motorist also holds an Irish driving licence.".

This has been the subject of complaints in the past. Some drivers holding both a foreign and an Irish driving licence have presented the foreign one to avoid incurring penalty points or a disqualification on their Irish licences. This could be remedied by making it an offence to present only a foreign driving licence. In addition, where a person presents a foreign licence, the Garda should be empowered to search the driving licence database for a matching Irish licence. This issue first arose in collisions involving cyclists where there had been dangerous or careless driving. I put this point to the Minister on Committee Stage and I wonder whether he has reflected on it. Would it be a useful addition to the Bill at this point?

We had a discussion on this. The principle of the Deputy's amendment is accepted by me and is already incorporated into the Bill. Under section 53, the definition of a driving licence will now include a foreign driving licence. Thus, if a person applies for a driving licence while holding another licence, following the passing of this Bill, the application will be rendered fraudulent. This automatically creates the offence that the Deputy is trying to establish in this amendment. Section 57 provides that in such circumstances a member of the Garda Síochána may seize a driving licence. The Deputy's intent was to make sure that if a person is stopped he or she cannot produce a foreign driving licence instead of his or her Irish one, but this is already covered in these sections.

The shift to a credit-card-style licence, for which the Deputy has indicated his support, will be helpful in this regard. Under that system, all driver details will be in a central database, which will be of assistance in prosecuting offenders.

Is the Minister saying this issue cannot arise following the passage of this Bill? On that basis I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 59:

In page 59, between lines 23 and 24, to insert the following:

"61.—The Minister shall by regulations apply the Principal Act and the Act of 2002 with whatever modifications are appropriate so as to fully enable the mutual recognition of penalty points between the State and other members of the European Union and such other jurisdictions as may be prescribed.".

This seeks to facilitate the Minister in mutual recognition of penalty points among EU partner states. I am seeking to insert this provision in the Bill so that the Minister can set up a system of mutual recognition in the future without the requirement for further primary legislation. I thought it would be appropriate to insert such a provision at this stage. I am aware the Minister is working on the issue of mutual recognition with the UK and other states, and I thought this would be of help.

I appreciate what the Deputy is trying to do and I would love to be able to go along with it because it would probably save us a lot of time in the future. Having listened to the strong arguments the Deputy made on Committee Stage, I reconsidered the issue and took advice from the Office of the Attorney General. However, unfortunately, case law is stacked against us. The Deputy might remember the particular case that was mentioned previously when we were working on sea fisheries legislation, although I cannot remember it.

It is not possible to put a broad general provision such as this into the Bill without having clearly laid out in advance the principles and procedures under which the new provisions will operate. The advice from the Attorney General is that it should not be provided for in primary legislation in advance of the agreement of those principles and procedures. We have some way to go on this. The UK authorities are leading in this area. I look forward to meeting my counterpart in the UK as soon as possible, and this is one of the issues we will discuss. There are bilateral arrangements between the UK and Ireland under Article 15.4 of the 1998 EU Convention on Driving Disqualifications; these have been in place since 28 January. However, unlike driving disqualifications, which are fairly straightforward, there is no agreed international framework for dealing with the recognition of penalty points for driving offences.

As I said, the UK is the lead authority in this regard. I raised this issue when I met a previous UK counterpart and was assured it was being worked on. However, it will take some time before we can finalise it. Thus, it is not appropriate to try to provide for it in this Bill. I hope that by the time the next Bill is going through the Oireachtas, the principles and procedures will have been established and we will be able to include such a provision.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment No. 60 arises out of committee proceedings.

I move amendment No. 60:

In page 60, line 19, after "he" to insert "or she".

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 61 to 65, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 61:

In page 69, line 4, after "is" to insert "or is likely to be".

This is another amendment which was proposed by Deputy Broughan on Committee Stage to the dangerous driving provisions contained in this section. While my advice with regard to this proposed amendment at the time was that it would have the effect of diluting the provision, I undertook, as the Deputy will recall, to re-examine the proposal for Report Stage. Having consulted with the Attorney General's office, I have brought forward an amendment which I hope goes a considerable way towards addressing the Deputy's concerns and brings additional clarity to the provisions. I hope the Deputy will agree I have gone as far as I can. I thank him for raising this important issue.

I thank the Minister for agreeing and moving towards the sense of our Committee Stage amendment. We are dealing with certain dangerous driving offences. This will strengthen the role of the Garda Síochána and assist prosecutions. I thank the Minister for bringing forward this amendment.

Amendment agreed to.
Amendment No. 62 not moved.

I move amendment No. 63:

In page 69, between lines 39 and 40, to insert the following:

"54.—(1) Where a vehicle overtakes another road user in such a manner as to create danger or alarm for such other road user, the person in charge of the first-mentioned vehicle commits an offence.

(2) (a) Where a mechanically propelled vehicle, moving at a speed of 30km/h or above, overtakes a pedal cycle or pedestrian at a distance of less than 1 metre, the driver shall be presumed, until the opposite has been proven, to have committed an offence under subsection (1).

(b) Where a mechanically propelled vehicle, moving at a speed of 50km/h or above, overtakes a pedal cycle or pedestrian at a distance of less than 1.5 metres, the driver shall be presumed, until the opposite has been proven, to have committed an offence under subsection (1).

(3) A person who contravenes this section is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or both.".

This is a major amendment I moved on Committee Stage and the Minister said he might reflect on it. It deals with the offence of dangerous overtaking by moving vehicles of cyclists; it is a provision to protect cyclists. I have not found this specific offence of dangerous overtaking of cyclists by cars listed in the existing road traffic law. It is a common complaint all across the cycling community. We are all cyclists at different times and at different times in our lives. I am referring to dangerous overtaking at speed and very fast left-hand turns in front of a cyclist. The Acting Chairman will be aware in Dublin North and Dublin North-East of various junctions with a cycleway which goes through a major junction. A vehicle will turn left through the cycle lane and this is an extremely dangerous situation which is not provided for in traffic law. I ask the Minister to consider making it a serious offence with summary conviction and a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months. The Minister has said the distance at which a vehicle must stay away from a cyclist is too wide in this amendment, at 1 m and 1.5 m, but cyclists are vulnerable road-users. I know that some cyclists do not obey the rules of the road but in general, cyclists need serious protection and this amendment is an attempt to add to the law in this regard. I ask the Minister to consider adopting this amendment.

We had a good discussion on this issue on Committee Stage. The Deputy made some well-made points. However, the difficulty still remains. It is not a question of the distances which the Deputy proposes in the amendment but rather of proving after the fact that those distances were breached. It would be difficult to present evidence and there could be a conflict of evidence. This is one of the difficulties raised in this amendment.

I accept the principle of what the Deputy proposes in trying to offer a higher level of protection to road-users who are considered more vulnerable, such as cyclists and pedestrians. However, having considered this proposal again and having taken legal advice, under article 10 of the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 and the SI 182/1997, there is an existing offence of dangerous overtaking and this is set out in those documents. The legal advice is that the creation of a duplicate offence could cause difficulties and it would not be appropriate. It could cause difficulties because it would reduce the clarity of the legislation. This is not what the Deputy intends. There would also be a difficulty in enforcement when it is a case of measurements.

The Deputy was also concerned about this particular offence being stipulated in secondary legislation. However, it carries equal weight to primary legislation. A range of road traffic offences are set out in secondary road traffic legislation, including failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield, failure to obey traffic lights and driving the wrong way down a one-way street. These are all very dangerous practices which are dealt with by the Garda without any great problem. The Deputy's submission on Committee Stage regarding the protection of vulnerable road-users is a valid one. I have asked the Department to examine the principles and in the context of a Bill which would be more suitable than this Bill. I hope to introduce a sustainable travel Bill to be published before the end of this year. I will undertake to the Deputy to try to include such provisions in that Bill.

I welcome that very much. The Minister has come forward with proposals for promised legislation on a number of issues in the past. On that basis, I will reluctantly withdraw the amendment. However, the definition of a bicycle and pedal vehicles needs to be covered.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 64 not moved.

I move amendment No. 65:

In page 70, between lines 13 and 14, to insert the following:

"(2) A person shall not engage in the sale or distribution or placing of any material or any commercial or promotional activity on or adjacent to a public road in such a manner as to have the potential to distract motorists or endanger road and public safety.".

The Acting Chairman and all Deputies here would be very familiar with the sale of goods at busy junctions. Newspapers are among those goods. People walk in between cars when stopped at busy junctions. I ask the Minister to consider this amendment. There is a tradition of newspaper sellers on the streets and in kiosks but the practice of working at junctions can be dangerous for the workers involved. People collect money for charity in this way but often constituents ask me why it is permitted to sell at junctions. I ask if the Minister has given this proposal some thought.

It was only when the Deputy raised this matter on Committee Stage that it struck me his proposal was a good idea. In the time since Committee Stage I have not been in a position to bring forward any amendments. I am advised that under article 46 of the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, and SI 182/1997, the existing offence of pedestrians not exercising care and not taking all reasonable precautions to avoid causing danger or inconvenience to traffic and other pedestrians, is set out clearly. Therefore, it is covered in the regulations and I do not want to duplicate it. However, this is an area we should take a good look at and clarify further. The Deputy is aware this will mean we will also have to stop the practice whereby charities raise money at junctions. However, we must consider what a life is worth because it is a dangerous practice. I ask the Deputy to withdraw the amendment on the basis that the issue is covered currently. I agree it is an issue we need to revisit.

It also applies to politicians. During the most recent election and the previous one, the former Taoiseach urged his supporters to canvass at junctions. There is significant territory to be covered and I would appreciate the Minister doing further thinking on the issue. However, I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 66 not moved.

I move amendment No. 67:

In page 73, between lines 14 and 15, to insert the following:

"73.—Section 78 of the Principal Act is amended by inserting the following subsection after subsection (3):

"(3A) Without prejudice to any other aspect of the terms agreed from time to time between the Minister and the Bureau in respect of the Bureau, those terms shall include an undertaking that the Bureau shall treat for all purposes third-party claims in respect of mechanically propelled vehicles as if the defence of automatism did not form part of the law relating to civil liability.".".

This issue was drawn to my attention by Deputy Howlin and a number of other colleagues. It relates to a situation where a driver suffers a blackout or an epileptic fit. This creates a difficulty with regard to a subsequent collision because the insurance bureau and Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland, MIBI, agreement does not cover the circumstance for this to be used as a defence in court proceedings. This defence is known as "automatism". There seems to be a big gap in civil law in this regard. I tried in this amendment to bring forward a solution through the following wording:

Without prejudice to any other aspect of the terms agreed from time to time between the Minister and the Bureau in respect of the Bureau, those terms shall include an undertaking that the Bureau shall treat for all purposes third-party claims in respect of mechanically propelled vehicles as if the defence of automatism did not form part of the law relating to civil liability.

The Minister said he would think about this issue. This is a serious gap which has been identified by Deputy Howlin. In the context of the MIBI, has the Minister given it any consideration?

We looked at this issue on foot of the Deputy's amendment and on foot of the discussion on Committee Stage. With regard to the proposed amendment, it is important to state that the MIBI operates with the intention to ensure equality of treatment between the victims of both insured and uninsured drivers. The imposition of a requirement such as that proposed in the amendment on the MIBI, without the imposition of a similar obligation on insurance companies would distort the principles under which it operates. In addition, I said previously that the MIBI agreement is concluded on a voluntary basis between the Minister for Transport and the MIBI. It is in everybody's interest that it works in this way and that the agreement exists. If we introduced a compulsion in law that would require the MIBI to sign up to specific terms in its agreement, that would attack the basis on which the agreement was reached, namely mutual consent. For these reasons, I cannot accept the amendment. It would not fit in this Bill.

However, an issue remains that injured victims are not compensated following a successful defence of "automatism". Question arise, therefore, as to how they should be compensated, by whom and by what mechanism that could be achieved. Those questions must be considered. This is something that will not just involve the Department of Transport, but will also involve a number of other Departments. At this point, I cannot accept an amendment to deal with the issue in this Bill. However, it is an issue with which we will have to deal.

It is a serious issue because it is not possible to compensate on the basis of automatism. It also raises further questions in terms of responsibility for collisions. Would the Minister consider accepting the principle and the issues relating to it if it was brought forward as a Private Members' Bill. Would he consider asking his colleagues to support that?

If it is brought forward in that manner, I will consider it carefully. The issue needs to be discussed.

On that basis, I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 68 and 76 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 68:

In page 75, between lines 18 and 19, to insert the following:

"77.—Section 9 of the Act of 2004 is amended in subsection (2) by the insertion of the following paragraph after paragraph (a):

"(aa) 40 kilometres per hour,”.”.

The Minister's amendment will be the one accepted in this regard. In recent discussions in Dublin city and other counties we found we did not have provision for a 40 km/h speed limit, which meant that people who wanted to slow down traffic to below 50 km/h had to go to the 30 km/h limit. Many years ago I proposed to Dublin city Council that we should have a 25 mph home zone system for all the estates around Dublin city and pedestrian shopping areas where the 30 kmh zone has been introduced. I thank the Minister for introducing his amendment. I understand we will shortly have a new 40 km/h or 25 mph speed limit which will be helpful to councillors throughout the country when introducing speed limits.

During Committee Stage I indicated that I would accept the Deputy's proposed amendment to introduce a 40 km/h option in section 9 of the Act of 2004. This is what my amendment does, in accordance with the statutory guidelines issued by me. In light of my amendment, I ask the Deputy to withdraw his. I have no difficulty acknowledging that this matter was raised by Deputy Broughan and that I was happy to support it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 69:

In page 76, line 41, to delete ", Equality".

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 70 and 71 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 70:

In page 76, line 41, after "Reform" to insert the following:

", the Minister for Transport or a local authority,".—

This amendment relates to extending the powers under section 62(7) whereby the Minister can sign contracts of private and other operators to operate the safety cameras. I commend the Minister on bringing about a framework at long last whereby we will have the new speed or safety cameras, by, hopefully, next October, at locations which will be determined by a Garda superintendent. The Labour Party believes local authorities should also have the power to decide on positions for speed and red light cameras and to give evidence in court, because speed management is a key element of the local authorities' traffic management structure. We have been giving local authorities' more power in this regard. The Minister mentioned this afternoon that real time information on buses in Dublin city and throughout the county — something that happens already in Galway city — would be the prerogative of the local authorities and that they would be responsible for the signage. This amendment suggests the same prerogative for local authorities with regard to speed cameras.

Section 77 deals mainly with enforcement of speed limits and the use of speed detection equipment by the Garda Síochána. Enforcement comes entirely within the remit of the Department of Justice and Law Reform and the Garda Commissioner. I understand the point being made by the Deputy, but this Bill is not the appropriate one to deal with the issue. Neither I, as Minister for Transport, nor the local authorities have any role in the enforcement of speed limits. Therefore, the proposed amendment is not appropriate for this section.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 71 not moved.

I move amendment No. 72:

In page 77, between lines 7 and 8, to insert the following:

"(b) The Minister shall as soon as practicable after the passing of this Act bring forward a scheme to facilitate the roll-out of the national speed camera programme in terms of physical infrastructure and road signage.”.

I mention this to again encourage the Minister to roll out the speed and safety cameras for which Members have been waiting so long. Will there be further slippage from the October target? Will Members still talk about speed cameras and safety cameras after Christmas? As this is a key element of enforcement, will there be further slippage?

I sincerely hope not. I have worked on this issue since I came into this Department. It is the responsibility of another Department in which a number of Ministers have held office during the time I have held this portfolio. While there has been goodwill on all sides in this regard, for a variety of reasons, including contractual issues and so on, we have been unable to get it over the line. I hope these cameras will be in position by the end of October. Much work is under way in preparation for them and I sincerely hope Members will not be talking about the roll-out at Christmas or thereabouts, except in retrospect, as it then will be operational.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 73:

In page 77, lines 12 and 13, to delete ", Equality".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 74:

In page 77, to delete lines 14 to 23.

This is simply a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment No. 75 in the name of Deputy Broughan has already been discussed with amendment No. 27.

I move amendment No. 75:

In page 78, line 8, to delete "measured by the court" and substitute the following:

"and for that purpose a certificate signed on behalf of the prosecution as to the amount of the costs and expenses involved shall be prima facie evidence of the amount of those costs and expenses”.

Does the Deputy intend to withdraw it?

This amendment is slightly different and seeks to achieve certainty in respect of costs by providing for a certificate as to the actual costs and expenses. It is related to the previous amendment I tabled about the costs of those who have broken traffic laws and what should happen in respect of the State's efforts to recover costs. This amendment proposes the production of a certificate on that basis. Will the Minister reconsider this?

I believe this amendment was discussed previously.

It was discussed already with amendment No. 27.

The position has not changed.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 76:

In page 80, to delete lines 20 and 21 and substitute the following:

"82.—Section 9(2) of the Act of 2004 is amended by substituting for paragraph (a) the following:

"(a) (i) 30 kilometres per hour, and

(ii) 40 kilometres per hour,

in respect of a road or roads in accordance with guidelines issued by the Minister under this section,".".

Amendment agreed to.

I move amendment No. 77:

In page 80, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following:

"(2) Section 9 of the Act of 2004 is amended by inserting the following after subsection (2)—

"(2A) All special speed limits shall apply to all public roads and public places within the area defined by the local authority to which the special speed limit applies, including roads in residential housing estates that have not yet been taken-in-charge.".".

The purpose of this amendment is to amend section 9 of the Act of 2004 to provide that all special speed limits shall apply to all public roads and public places within the area defined by the local authority to which the special speed limit applies, including roads and residential housing estates that have not yet been taken in charge. As I have told the Minister, my predecessor as Labour Party spokesperson on transport matters, Deputy Shortall, pursued this issue vigorously. However, five or six years later, no clarity has been achieved in this regard because under the Road Traffic Act 2004, speed limits can only apply to public roads. However, roads in housing estates that have not yet been taken in charge by the local authority are classified as public places, rather than as public roads.

As previously discussed, this issue arises in respect of estates in the Minister's constituency of Meath West and my constituency of Dublin North-East. Similarly the Ceann Comhairle and my other colleague, Deputy O'Dowd, also probably have experienced the phenomenon whereby estates which have been built and occupied for eight to ten years still have not been taken in charge. All Members have experienced great difficulty while attempting to secure traffic signage and traffic rules, for which residents continually ask. As I noted, my predecessor in this role, Deputy Shortall, brought up this issue a number of times with the Minister's predecessor, Martin Cullen. However, it appears as though there is a problem in this regard that should be addressed.

The amendment seeks to insert a new provision into section 9 of the Act relating to special speed limits that would provide that local authorities could apply special speed limits to roads and residential housing estates that have not yet been taken in charge. It is probable that all Members have experience of such estates, which have not been taken in charge. However, a fundamental principle under road traffic law is that where regulatory provisions apply to a road, the road in question must have the status of being a public road. All road traffic offences form part of the criminal code, that is, that a person is liable to a penalty or to be summonsed to court when he or she contravenes a road law provision. Consequently, it is not appropriate to introduce a parallel process, as proposed in this amendment, whereby a local authority could apply special speed limits to a road that was not a public road, without any provision being made for enforcement of infringements. Questions arise such as, for instance, who would enforce the speed limits on what is essentially private land and private property and in respect of the difficulties to which this would give rise. Any such provision would be open to challenge on the grounds of a lack of legal clarity or certainty. However, once the road is taken in charge, the speed control provisions of the road traffic legislation can be applied by the road authority and enforced by the Garda Síochána.

The issue with which the Deputy is attempting to deal is completely separate and relates to the failure of local authorities to fulfil their obligations to take roads in charge. I acknowledge that this is an issue that must be pursued but I have been unable to do so within the time available and it must be pursued at a later stage. However, this is not an appropriate Bill into which to include this provision and this is not an appropriate amendment for this Bill, no matter how much one might wish to have provisions in law to try to deal with this issue. Consequently, I ask the Deputy to withdraw his amendment.

The point of the amendment simply is that because traffic legislation is the most serious aspect of taking in charge, it should be done first. As soon as a place is occupied, the local authority should be allowed, to take it in charge for traffic purposes. While the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government also could be involved in this regard, it appears to me as though a huge gap exists. It is highly annoying for parents with young children and the Minister is familiar with the problems that arise, such as visitors to the estates whizzing around the place in cars.

I accept the Deputy's point and this is a matter that must be discussed by the relevant Departments, namely, the Departments of Transport and the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It struck me that the Deputy's suggestion is not unreasonable. Perhaps a legislative provision could exclude roads from the process of taking estates in charge. Perhaps the thing to do, which would involve planning law, would be to oblige developers building estates to put in place the roads first, possibly thereby getting a reduction in one's development levy or whatever. The council then would be obliged to approve those roads with the effect as soon as the houses were built, even if the estate was not absolutely complete, it could be deemed to be a public road. It could be something along those lines. I certainly will ask my officials to contact their counterparts in the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government to ascertain whether something like this could be put in train.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendments Nos. 78 and 79 are related and may be discussed together.

I move amendment No. 78:

In page 80, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following:

"(2) Section 9 of the Act of 2004 is amended by inserting the following after subsection (13)—

"(13A) The Minister shall make regulations requiring the City or County Manager of each City or County Council to produce and publish once in each calendar year a report on the speed limits of all roads in the Local Authority Area.".".

This amendment is based on a suggestion from the British road safety charity, Brake, that encourages all local authorities in the United Kingdom to publish each year a clear audit of their speed limits. This is related to a point I made on Committee Stage on the manner in which some people either appear to be or will claim to be unsure of the speed limits. This often will be the case in rural areas and even in urban areas, people in Dublin city who are asked the speed limit on James Larkin Road or the Howth Road in Raheny, for example, may get it wrong. All the speed limits within Dublin city should be 50 km/h, with perhaps a dozen or 15 exceptions. Clarity should be brought to signage. Roads should interact with the driver. There should be constant interaction and one should never not know the speed limit. This amendment seeks to bring about a new regime and I ask the Minister to consider it again.

I certainly will. Work is ongoing in the Department on the preparation of guidance for local authorities on the setting of speed limits under the road safety strategy. Once the guidance is in place, local authorities will be requested to audit their speed limits. We have made provision so that it can be done. I am wary of creating a statutory obligation currently in that respect but I agree that no driver should be left in any doubt as to what the speed limits are in particular areas. The guidance should help in that regard. The speed limits are less than clear at the moment. However, from my experience of driving on the Continent and even in the United States at various times, while we are not better, we are no worse in many cases. The use of intelligent transport systems will increase. Work is ongoing in that regard in the European Union. We will publish the guidelines first and then we will encourage local authorities to carry out audits.

The ideal situation would be for drivers to know the speed limit in their vehicles through the use of an automated system.

I used a satellite navigation system when I travelled between France and Spain recently. Every time I exceeded the speed limit on a given stretch of road, a warning beep sounded. That kind of intelligent system would work well.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 79:

In page 80, between lines 21 and 22, to insert the following:

"(2) Section 9 of the Act of 2004 is amended by inserting after subsection (13) the following—

"(13A) The Minister shall make regulations requiring an audit by Local Authorities and national upgrade programme for road speed signage signs including signage for charging points for electric vehicles, parking places for club cars and partial footpath parking areas.".".

This is a similar amendment to the previous one. Many of the remaining amendments are aspirational. This one relates to electric vehicles. The Minister made a contribution on the matter on Committee Stage.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 80:

In page 80, line 26, to delete "section 56" and substitute "section 65”.

This is a technical amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments Nos. 81 and 82 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 81:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—The Minister shall as soon as practicable introduce regulations to fully implement the Graduated Driving License Scheme.".

Will the Minister indicate when we can expect the graduated driver licence legislation? I accept he has dealt with other legislation in recent months but I would like to see the introduction of such legislation as driver education is critical. It is important to ensure drivers begin with a good driving culture from the outset. When will the Minister introduce the legislation which is necessary under the road safety strategy?

The RSA had a public consultation process and it submitted proposals to me which I considered for further development and the implementation of a comprehensive, graduated driver licensing scheme. I approved the proposals in principle but a number of issues needed some refinement especially in terms of implementation as we will introduce many of the measures through a pilot scheme. Many of the proposals that have been brought forward in recent months in this context will require primary legislation and cannot be done through regulation. Much of the work on graduated driving licences is based on the consultation and the agreements with stakeholders.

We must wait for the next road traffic Bill to include provisions to implement a graduated driver licensing scheme and create the statutory obligation on the Minister for Transport to make regulations to implement the scheme. It would be inappropriate to do that without knowing what we are going to implement and what primary legislation we need. The preparation of draft legislative proposals to implement compulsory basic training for motorcyclists is nearing finalisation within the RSA. I expect to receive those proposals shortly. The enabling provisions for that aspect of it, to which the Deputy referred previously, is in place so creating a statutory obligation on the Minister for Transport to make regulations is not necessary in that instance. We need primary legislation in one set of circumstances and we have the legislation to allow for regulations in the other. I ask the Deputy to withdraw the amendment.

We must take the regulations concerning motorcyclists seriously given that the casualty rate is so high. Perhaps the Minister will return to the issue. On the basis of his response, I will withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 82 not moved.

I move amendment No. 83:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—The Minister shall as soon as practicable bring forward a scheme to facilitate the implementation of the national electric car strategy including electric charge points, signage, parking facilities and a national information campaign.".

Again, this is an aspirational amendment on electric vehicles.

Work is ongoing in that regard. It is not appropriate to have a statutory obligation. I assure the Deputy I am working with my colleague in the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources to advance the matter.

Amendment, by leave withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 84:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—The Minister shall as soon as practicable bring forward regulations to facilitate the setting and enforcement of speed limits and parking regulations on private property including guidelines to allow owners of private roads to set speed limits and arrange for the enforcement of these limits.".

The amendment again relates to estates. Has the Minister reconsidered the matter?

Only in the context of what I said earlier, namely, that it is something that needs to be addressed. This part of it will be considered in conjunction with the earlier related amendment. We will try to address both issues.

The amendment relates to the difficulties cyclists have on private roads.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 85:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—The Minister shall direct each City and County Manager to review the operation of residential parking permit schemes in their Local Authority area.".

In the amendment I draw attention to the current legislation on parking in residential areas which are situated near areas of high demand, for example, near a DART station, quality bus corridor, university or major shopping centre and the limited options available to local authorities. No legislative provision currently exists for residents-only parking. One can install residential disc parking but in that case there is a charge for both residents and visitors and there is a requirement that a majority of residents would accept the situation. There is a difficulty in this area and even though the charge in a residential disc area is low, it can be difficult to get agreement. I am trying to introduce a new system. I ask the Minister to respond.

It would require me to direct local authority managers to review the operation of the residential parking permits scheme. The introduction of that type of compulsory provision without regard for local authority resourcing is inappropriate and is probably disproportionate to the problem. I accept what the Deputy said but there is an option available to the Minister for Transport to request local authorities to review the operation of parking schemes without the introduction of compulsory provisions in primary legislation. In the same way as the Deputy, I am more in favour of local authorities exercising their own responsibility. In light of that, I ask him to withdraw the amendment.

The problem has been identified and it may be something to which we can return.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 86:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—All public transport vehicles engaged in the carriage of passengers on any Quality Bus Corridor networks shall have priority at all traffic junctions.".

This is another aspirational amendment to give priority to traffic on quality bus corridors. There was an element of that in the SCATS system. The aim is to give a strong impetus to buses travelling on quality bus corridors. I would like to hear the Minister's response.

This amendment is appropriate to the sustainable travel Bill that is due later. It does happen at the moment but we might try to strengthen the provisions in the forthcoming Bill.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 87:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—Within one month from the passing of this Act the Attorney General shall refer the issue of residents only parking as opposed to residents permit parking to the Law Reform Commission for examination.".

This amendment arises from the previous amendment on residents' parking. Perhaps the Minister will consider this thorny area. We, as local and national representatives, are often involved in these kinds of issues. Will the Minister do what I suggest?

I will undertake to write to the Attorney General to express the Deputy's view and see whether the former will consider it, or consider referring it to the Law Reform Commission.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 88:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—The Minister shall immediately review the use of the CT68 form or any similar form in the collation of data after a road collision to include the recording of any vehicle defects or the testing of a driver for alcohol or any illegal substances.".

We had a long discussion on the CT68 form, or similar form, on Committee Stage. The Minister was saying we should not be referring to specific types of forms in primary legislation. The CT68 form is completed by a garda who attends at the scene of a collision. It pertains to preliminary opinion only and does not form part of the investigation file. The Opposition considers it to be a cursory, basic form and that it should be much more detailed and give real insight into what has occurred. I refer the Minister to the similar type of form in use by the police services in Northern Ireland and Britain. Has the Minister re-examined this matter? While difficulties arise over addressing this in primary legislation, we need to examine this area.

The Deputy is correct that this arose on Committee Stage. I indicated to him that it was not appropriate for me to do anything about it directly in primary legislation and that it is entirely a matter for the Garda Commissioner. I indicated I would bring the Deputy's concerns to the attention of the Garda Commissioner and the road safety committee. It is an item on the agenda of the next meeting of the committee, which will be some time before the end of this month. On that basis, I ask the Deputy to withdraw the amendment.

I ask the Minister to keep this under surveillance.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 89:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—The Minister shall as soon as practicable introduce a pilot programme to trial the use of Alcolocks as part of anti-drink driving educational programme including drink-drive rehabilitation schemes.".

I proposed on Committee State that the Minister should introduce a pilot programme on the use of Alcolocks as part of an anti-drink driving educational programme. I referred to the use of Alcolocks in many other EU states. We referred earlier to the utilisation of technology to improve road safety. This is an area in which we could dramatically improve road safety. We could give people options to be safe by introducing the Alcolocks system to Ireland. This is a major step we could take. There may be issues of jurisprudence to address. Perhaps we should start making moves to introduce Alcolocks now. Will the Minister consider this?

The Deputy will be pleased to know we do not need primary legislation to carry out pilot programmes along the lines the Deputy suggests. Therefore, the amendment is not necessary. What the Deputy wants can be achieved as matters stand.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

We are on the home straight. Amendments Nos. 90 to 93 are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

I move amendment No. 90:

In page 81, after line 24, to insert the following:

"89.—(1) Any person who knowingly or recklessly makes any adjustment to or stops or disengages the odometer on a vehicle, and thereby misrepresenting the true mileage of the vehicle in question, shall be guilty of an offence.

(2) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) of this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months, or to both such fine and such imprisonment, or, on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or to both such fine and such imprisonment for each and every occurrence.

(3) It shall not be an offence within the meaning of subsection (1) when an odometer is adjusted to reflect the true mileage of the vehicle.”.

The amendments relate to the offence of interfering with an odometer on a car, known as car clocking. I sought to introduce three new provisions in the Road Traffic Bill such that "Any person who knowingly or recklessly makes any adjustment to or stops or disengages the odometer on a vehicle, and thereby misrepresenting the true mileage of the vehicle in question, shall be guilty of an offence". I raised this on the Order of Business, as the Ceann Comhairle may recall. It was prompted by Cartell.ie and AA Ireland. Cartell.ie did major studies of car clocking and discovered prima facie evidence that approximately one fifth of used imported cars had been clocked in some form. The Minister referred me to the National Consumer Agency and general consumer rules about people buying products that are what they are meant to be.

After one's house, one's vehicle is the biggest item of expenditure. Many pay back car loans for a long time. It is tragic that a significant number of people, according to the evidence of Cartell.ie, are paying for a vehicle much older than the one they believed they purchased. This requires specific legislation. The Minister is saying that, in general terms, this matter is covered. Clocking is a specific offence that needs to be considered.

A year or two ago, when this offence was highlighted again, most of us believed it was no longer possible to clock odometers, and that the old odometers were easy enough to interfere with by comparison with the modern ones. It was believed that, with computer systems in cars, clocking could not be done. We now know that virtually anything can be done with computers and that problems with security arise. There is very significant evidence that car clocking is occurring. While I know the Bill deals to a large extent with moving vehicles, car clocking is a serious offence and an attack on people's rights. The legislation suggested by Cartell.ie, which checks odometers on vehicles entering the country, and by AA Ireland is worthy of support in this House. I may introduce a Private Members' Bill with my amendments at its heart. We should do this.

I agree with the Deputy that car clocking should be condemned outright. It certainly deserves to be legislated for. That legislation is in place. It focuses on consumer protection legislation and it is enforced by the National Consumer Agency. The Consumer Protection Act 2007 makes it an offence for a trader to engage in a misleading commercial practice, and this includes the falsification of information on a product's usage or prior history to the extent that the information would be likely to cause the average consumer to make a transactional decision he would not otherwise make. This is the legal position. The National Consumer Agency enforces the legislation and provides advice for prospective buyers in its guide to buying a car. Car clocking is considered to be a misleading commercial practice within the meaning of Part 3 of the Act. I am not sure the practice is as widespread as the Deputy is saying. His evidence is anecdotal and he is not quoting scientific data. The agency received 112 complaints from consumers over car clocking in 2008. There were 84 complaints in 2009 and 21 so far this year. I hope this is a sign that a practice that I accept was pretty common four or five years ago is declining on foot of the legislation of 2007.

The agency has the power to get undertakings from a trader to comply with the requirements of the Act, usually a commitment to cease the offending practice and compensate affected customers. If he does not give an undertaking or renege on the terms, the agency can apply to the Circuit Court for a prohibition order or take a prosecution. In 2008, there were four undertakings from traders and one conviction. In 2009, the agency obtained one conviction for car clocking. So far in 2010, the agency has obtained one prohibition against a trader and one undertaking from another trader. The penalties for this range from a maximum fine for a first offence of €3,000 — compensation to the consumer must also be considered — to €60,000 for convictions on indictment and there are higher fines for repeat offenders.

The one area Deputy Broughan referred to as well which is something I will consider is where the practice results in a car that is clearly dangerous getting on the road. Where that can be proven, there may be something that we could do from a road safety point of view in this road traffic legislation rather than in consumer legislation. However, I am reluctant to provide — we had this point previously — for two different sets of legislation covering the same offence.

The other point to stress is that this practice is so dangerous because, particularly with modern cars in the past four or five years, one can easily interfere with the brakes and with other key systems in a vehicle. Certain marks of car are very much computer aided. It is also a very dangerous practice. I accept what the Minister is saying, although maybe it should be somewhere in primary legislation. Cartell.ie, AA Ireland and others have made some good points. On that basis, I will withdraw the amendments.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments Nos. 91 to 93, inclusive, not moved.
Bill reported with amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I thank the Members opposite for the constructive approach to this legislation. On the various Stages there was much discussion about particular provisions in it, and perhaps a strict focus on one area, whereas there are many important provisions in the Bill that will help road safety.

I thank my colleagues across the floor of the House. I have said it before and it is worth saying again, that this is one area where all-party support is very important. It is an area where everybody has contributed positively and I want to acknowledge that here in the House.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle and his staff for facilitating it and thank my own staff in the Department for the work that they have put into this legislation. I hope the Deputies opposite found the staff open and willing to co-operate and to provide as much information as possible. I thank everybody for their co-operation.

I affirm and support what the Minister has said. We all worked together on this Bill to perfect it as best we could. The Minister dealt with most, if not all, of the issues, although issues will continue to arise.

I also pay tribute to PARC, particularly the ladies who contacted us and campaigned so long and so hard on behalf of their loved ones who died tragically due to issues in regard to drunken driving. Their sincerity and dedication drove this agenda, as did many members of the public who contacted us.

Notwithstanding all of that, it is important that the Oireachtas makes judicious positive constructive new legislation to make the roads safer for everybody regardless of anything else and that the greatest good for the greatest number will result from this legislation. I welcome the passing of this Bill. I thank everybody concerned, those in all parties and the officials aswell.

I thank the Ceann Comhairle for his courtesy during the passage of this Bill. I also thank the civil servants in the Department of Transport. Road traffic legislation is a difficult and hugely contested area and I thank the officials for the great work they have done on it. I also thank the Minister for accepting a number of amendments from the Labour Party where we tried to invigilate and to strength the Bill.

It is an historic night in the context of road safety. A good job of work has been done in getting this Bill through Dáil Éireann. I pay particular tribute to the women committee members of the PARC road safety organisation who briefed me extensively and supported me on Labour Party amendments. I commend them on the terrific work they have done to bring this legislation forward.

Mandatory testing is the core of the Bill. The new 50 mg limit is the core of the Bill and I hope that the Minister will ensure, on its final passage through the Oireachtas, that this core aspect of the Bill stays as it is. I thank the Minister.

Do we have unanimous agreement on the proposal, "That the Bill do now pass."?

I do not know. I think that the Minister is not aware of the serious effect this will have in rural areas. I want to know will the Minister show any leniency for the people who are living in Ballydehob. One must remember that whether one lives in Ballydehob or in Ballsbridge, one is entitled to the same privilege. We have no Luas service in west Cork. Neither have we a CIE service every ten minutes or a taxi service.

The Minister should take into consideration that we have almost the lowest rate of road deaths in the European Union, according to statistics that are coming out today. The 80 mg limit, when it was imposed correctly by the Garda, has proven results. Why, at this stage, ignore the rest of the country?

Even at this late hour, we must keep to what is in the Bill and Deputy Sheehan is drifting on wide tangents.

I would ask the Minister if he would consider, before he puts it into law.

I can assure Deputy Sheehan that the people of Ballydehob will get the same consideration from me as the people of Balliver, Ballinabrackey and various places around the country. The reason we are heading towards the lowest death rate in Europe is that we are prepared to put legislation like this in place.

The existing legislation was sufficient to do it.

Question put and agreed to.