An Inishowen road safety campaigner has welcomed new crackdowns on drivers who fail to produce their licences in court and those who drive while disqualified.
Susan Gray of PARC (Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our roads) was speaking to the ‘Journal’ after the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald yesterday welcomed plans by An Garda Síochána to commence prosecutions for the failure to present driving licences in court.
PARC has long campaigned for stricter controls on ensuring that drivers before the courts on road traffic offences produce their licences as, in many cases, it meant they were able to avoid penalty points.
Failure to produce a driving licence in court is an offence under road traffic legislation and An Garda Síochána will shortly commence prosecutions targeting those who fail to do so.
Mrs. Gray welcomed the move, stating “something needed to be done.”
She said PARC had met with Ministers on the issue last year and also wrote to all judges asking them to ensure licences were produced.
She said she now wanted to see prosecutions begin soon for the offence, as no-one has been prosecuted to date.
Mrs Gray commended district courts in Donegal and Donegal District Court Judge Paul Kelly.
She said Judge Kelly, who presides at Buncrana and Carndonagh District Courts, ensures drivers are asked to produce their licences in court and points out how they face further prosecution for not doing so.
She added that the loophole was “unfair” on more compliant drivers who did produce their licences, leaving them closer to disqualification, while many “repeat offenders” did not.
Mrs Gray also welcomed legislation which came into effect yesterday, which gives more powers to Gardai to arrest disqualified drivers. Gardai will now be able to bring the offender to court within days.
“This is excellent news,” said Mrs Gray.
“Previously, Gardai would have to first issue a summons and it could take some time. We strongly welcome both of these new crackdowns.”