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Road Traffic Offences

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 November 2021

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Ceisteanna (165)

Thomas Gould

Ceist:

165. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Transport the action being taken in his Department to prevent underage, unlicensed drivers from driving cars. [53607/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Transport)

My Department has a large suite of legislation which provides an Garda Síochána with the powers it needs to deal with the dangers of underage and/or unlicensed drivers.

Under road traffic legislation, it is illegal to drive a mechanically propelled vehicle if under the prescribed minimum age for that category of vehicle. Different age categories apply to different types of vehicles, and the minimum age to drive a car is 17.

People who drive vehicles without a licence (regardless of age) are committing an offence under section 38 of the Road Traffic Act 1961, and may be subject to arrest, a substantial fine, and, on conviction, a custodial sentence.

Section 41 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 also empowers a Garda to detain a vehicle where he/she suspects the driver to be underage.

In addition, it is an offence under Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 2004 to supply a vehicle to a minor, with the offender liable, on summary conviction, to a substantial fine or a period of imprisonment.

My recently published Road Traffic and Roads Bill 2021 provides for the establishment of a database matching drivers and vehicles to enable the easy identification of unlicensed and/or uninsured drivers on our roads. In addition, it will amend section 41 of the 1994 Act so that a vehicle may be seized if the person is not the holder of a driving licence.

The Bill also makes specific provision to increase the powers of an Garda Síochána to deal with the misuse of quadbikes and scramblers, which is particularly prevalent in minors.

The enforcement of road traffic legislation is a matter for an Garda Síochána, and comes within the remit of my colleague the Minister for Justice.

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