Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Ceisteanna (442)

Sorca Clarke

Ceist:

442. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons arrested and successfully prosecuted for driving while disqualified in each of the past three years in tabular form. [2928/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed that An Garda Síochána no longer utilise a code for the offence of 'driving while disqualified', as there is no separate offence of ‘driving while disqualified’ provided for in the Road Traffic Acts.

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’ which is liable upon summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €1,000, and in any other case, to a fine not exceeding €2,000.

Section 38 (5) of the Act provides an increased penalty in respect of a person who is summarily convicted of an offence of driving without a licence during the period of disqualification (namely a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or both). However, the specific offence remains one of driving without a licence, and so the code 'driving while disqualified' has now been discontinued.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that additional powers were provided to An Garda Síochána, allowing the arrest of people, who drive while disqualified from holding a driver's licence, under section 6(b) and (c) of the Road Traffic Act 2014, which came into effect from 22 June 2015.

The following table as provided to me by the Garda authorities sets out the number of proceedings taken in relation to driving without a driving licence 2018 to 2020.

Year

2018

2019

2020

Driving without a Driving licence*

22,564

20,557

16,868

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

The statistics are not compiled in such a way as to identify specific number of detections or arrests for driving while disqualified (as stated, additional powers were provided to An Garda Síochána, allowing the arrest of people, who drive while disqualified, under section 6(b) and (c) of the Road Traffic Act 2014), as this would necessitate a manual trawl of all relevant incidents recorded on PULSE to collate same, which would require a disproportionate expenditure of Garda time and resources.

Further, I have been advised by the Courts Service that the below table displays persons before the courts and persons convicted for the years 2018, 2019 & 2020 for Driving without a Driving Licence & Driving without holding a driving licence.

Year

No. of Persons before the Courts

No. of Persons convicted

2018

16,835

3,544

2019

17,713

3,528

2020

11,080

2,039

The statistics that the Courts Service produce in relation to specific offences are based on running a report on CCTS against the code for each specific offence. Courts 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.

It should further be noted that the information provided by the Courts Service captures the number of persons before the Courts and not the number of proceedings.