Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2399)

Marc MacSharry


2399. Deputy Marc MacSharry asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if his attention has been drawn to recent revelations that in the past two and a half years 12,429 persons were convicted of speeding but just 4,201 of those had their licence recorded for penalty points; and the steps he will take to address this matter. [32715/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

I am of course aware of recent media coverage regarding the non-endorsement of penalty points on the driver records of those convicted of offences under the Road Traffic Acts, mainly speeding, due to the non-production of driving licences in Court.

The penalty point system has been in place for almost 15 years, and has processed to date more than three million penalty point offence records on my Department's National Vehicle and Driver File. Over 85% of penalty point records are received from an Garda Síochána where the offender opts to pay the fixed charge amount and accepts the penalty points. The remainder are received from the Courts Service, following convictions, unless an offender does not appear in court, or does not produce their licence for the court.

Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act 2002, as amended, addresses the question of production of driving licences in court. Following difficulties with the original processes set out in section 22, my Department engaged with the Department of Justice and Equality with a view to revising the process. This was done by amendment of section 22 in the Road Traffic Act 2016. The new procedure provides that where a person is convicted of an offence under the Road Traffic Acts "the Presiding Judge shall require the person to produce his or her driving licence or learner permit to the Registrar, Clerk or other Principal Officer of the Court and the Court shall record whether or not the licence or permit was produced and where the licence or permit was produced, the details specified in that licence or permit."

I have written to my colleague, the Minister for Justice and Equality, to express my disappointment that there does not appear to be a consistent approach across District Courts to comply with the production of driving licence requirements, and I have asked him to examine any means at the disposal of his office to address this issue.