At present, a person caught exceeding the speed limit will receive a fixed charge notice, requiring them to pay a fixed charge of €80 within 28 days. If they do not pay within 28 days, they have a further 28 days within which they may pay the charge plus 50%. If no payment is made within 56 days, court proceedings are begun. When a summons to court is sent, there is a so-called 'third payment option' included, permitting the person to pay the fixed charge plus 100%. If they do so no later than 7 days before date of the court hearing, court proceedings will be discontinued. If they pay the fixed charge at any of the three stages of this process, they will also receive 3 penalty points on their licence record. The amount by which they have exceeded the speed limit is not taken into account in this current system.
If the person does not pay the fixed charge and is subsequently convicted in court, they will receive a fine of up to a maximum of €1,000 for a first offence, and up to €2,000 for a second or subsequent offence. In the case of a third or subsequent offence within a 12-month period, they will receive a fine up to a maximum of €2,000 and/or up to 3 months in prison. In all cases following conviction in court they will receive 5 penalty points.
I believe that a system of graduated speeding penalties, which would see higher sanctions for breaking the speed limit by greater amounts would be fairer and more proportionate than the current system, as well as acting as a deterrent to excessive speeding. It would also be in line with the legislation on alcohol, where people who drive over the limit receive higher penalties if they are over the limit by higher amounts.
Specific proposals for the penalties in question are to be considered by a Cabinet committee on 31 January, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on possible penalties for specific brackets of speeding offences before Government has discussed and agreed them.