Government clears the way for new graded system.
Drivers that break the speed limit by a big margin are facing bigger fines and more penalties points under a new system given the green light by the Government.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and other cabinet ministers have given the go-ahead to the Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Shane Ross to introduce new laws aimed at reducing the number of road deaths.
Under the approved graduated penalty system, speeding offences will be:
· Up to 10km/h over the limit; €60 fixed charge and two penalty points on payment of the fixed charge; with four penalty points on conviction in court.
· Between 10 and up to 20km/h over the limit; €80 fixed charge and three penalty points on payment of the fixed change; with five penalty points on conviction in court.
· Between 20 to 30km/h over the limit, €100 fixed and four penalty points on payment of the fixed charge or six points on conviction in court.
· If people in these brackets do not pay the fixed charge and are convicted in court they will face the same penalty as today – a fine of up to €1,000 for a first offence, up to €2,000 for a second or subsequent offence, and up to €2,000 and/or up to 3 months in prison for a third or subsequent offence within 12 months.
· Over 30km/h or more over the limit, a new stand-alone offence which would not be a fixed charge offence and would therefore result directly in a Court summons. The penalty on conviction would be a fine of up to €2,000 for any offence except for a third or subsequent offence within a 12-month period for a third or subsequent offence within a 12-month period they will receive a fine of up to €2,000 and/or up to 3 months in prison. In all cases conviction for this offence will lead to 7 penalty points
The Minister said this graduated speeding penalty system, which is to be incorporated into new legislation, would send a clear message to drivers that the more they speed, the more serious consequences they face.
The Minister said: “The objective is not to penalise people but to change behaviour. We don’t want to catch people speeding; we want to encourage them to stop speeding so as to prevent deaths and injuries on our roads.”
The Minister said the changes would finally distinguish between those who were marginally exceeding the speed limit and those driving excessively over the limits and would end the practice of treating speeding as a single offence. “This ‘one penalty fits all’ system is not particularly fair, and it is not targeted at the most dangerous driving behavior. Increasingly, it is international practice to make distinctions based on how much people are speeding over the limit. This enables a focus on the more dangerous drivers and offers a deterrent to the most dangerous speeding offences.”
“Data collected by the Gardai indicate that most people will not be impacted by the changes being proposed to the legislation. That data, collected between 2016 and early 2019, reveals that almost 60% of speeding offences were in the 0-10 or 10-20 bracket. None of these people would face a higher fixed charge under my proposals, and the 18.5% in the 0-10 bracket would actually see a lower fixed charge and lower penalty points. The 26.7% in the 20-30 bracket would receive a higher fixed charge and penalty points.”
“A system which will treat minor speeders more leniently, mid-range speeders the same as before, and provide stricter penalties for the minority of really dangerous offenders will be fairer.”
Minister Ross said the new changes, which will be incorporated into the Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2019, would underpin the Government’s determination to reduce road deaths.
The Minister also said that it is intended to design an appeals mechanism which will allow “questionable speed limits” to be reconsidered by Road Authorities. A process will be put in place whereby, if an individual or group believe that a particular speed limit in some location is not correct (too high or too low), a technical review which takes account of the Speed Limit Guidelines will be undertaken by a competent assessment panel.
The Minister added: “Over a period of time we have made dramatic reductions in the tragic loss of life on our roads. But we have reached a point where it is increasingly difficult to reduce deaths further. This can hardly be acceptable. If we are to make real progress on continuing the reduction of fatalities on our roads, we need to address the central problem of speeding.”