Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (643)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

643. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the number of drivers who were summarily convicted of the offence of driving without a driving licence in 2018, 2019 and up to 31 July 2020 who were, at the time they committed the offence, disqualified; and the penalties imposed on those drivers under section 38(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006. [7032/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that road traffic legislation falls within the remit of my colleague, the Minister for Transport.

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006, creates the offence of ‘Driving without a Driving Licence’. The penalty for this offence is, upon summary conviction, a fine not exceeding €1,000, and in any other case, a fine not exceeding €2,000.

I am further informed that section 38 (5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as amended by Section 12 of the Road Traffic Act 2006, provides an increased penalty in respect of a person who is summarily convicted of the offence of Driving without a Driving Licence and was, at the time he or she committed the offence, disqualified for holding a driving licence, namely a fine not exceeding €5,000, or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both.

The following table, provided by An Garda Síochána, shows the number of proceedings taken in relation to driving without a driving licence 2018-2020. 2020 figures are for the period from January – July 2020.

Year

2018

2019

2020 (Jan – July)

Driving without a Driving licence

22,527

20,557

10,515

* All figures provided are provisional, operational and subject to change.

Please note that we have been advised by An Garda Síochána that these statistics are not compiled in such a way as to identify specific number of arrests for driving while disqualified under section 6(b) and (c) of the Road Traffic Act, as this would necessitate an extensive manual trawl of all relevant incidents recorded on PULSE to collate same, which would require a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources.

Further to the statistics provided by An Garda Síochána, the Courts Service have provided the below tables. Please note that the Court Service have advised that they can only provide data in relation to where offence codes provided on the system were used by prosecutors. Prosecutors may have used uncoded free text offences and any such offences would not be included in the data provided.

Number of drivers before the courts by way of summons or charge sheet for driving without a licence for 2018, 2019 and Jan – July 2020:

Year

No of Persons before the Courts

Jan – Dec 2018

16,851

Jan – Dec 2019

17,726

Jan – July 2020

7,531

Report on the number of orders & number of persons per order for the years 2018; 2019 & Jan – July 2020

Jan – Dec 2018

Jan-Dec 2018

Jan – Dec 2019

Jan-Dec 2019

Jan – 31 July 2020

Jan-31 July 2020

Court Orders

No of Orders

No of Persons

No of Orders

No of Persons

No of Orders

No of Persons

Community Service Order

66

64

76

68

21

19

Dismiss

184

176

253

242

122

120

Dismiss Probation Act

44

44

53

52

9

9

Disqualification

480

411

535

445

216

176

Fine

3,440

3,166

3,428

3,100

1,094

1,016

Imprisonment

234

171

312

244

123

86

Imprisonment - Part Suspended

1

1

1

1

1

1

Imprisonment - Suspended

180

177

194

187

63

56

No Order

89

83

115

95

41

39

Other

3

3

12

6

2

2

Peace Bond

3

3

2

2

3

3

Poor Box

6

6

11

11

3

3

Probation Order

52

34

45

37

8

8

Sent forward for Trial

3

3

1

1

Strike Out

6,813

6,386

6,449

6,041

2,122

2,032

Strike Out - Not Served

4,680

3,865

4,986

4,184

2,728

2,485

Taken Into Consideration

3,623

2,826

3,903

2,990

1,451

1,144

Withdrawn

1,621

1,545

2,365

2,265

924

897

Total

21,519

18,961

22,743

19,973

8,932

8,097

Please note that a person may have received more than one order and will appear on the above report twice and an offence may have more than one penalty imposed and as such will also appear twice on the report.

Section 38(5) of the Road Traffic Act 1961 only provides for summary conviction of the offences mentioned by the Deputy.