Inishowen-based road safety group PARC has welcomed developments in the prosecution of disqualified motorists who fail to produce their driving licence in court.
PARC members met with the CEO of the Courts Service and his officials last week to discuss District Courts and penalty points offences.
This followed PARC’s presentation of a report in June to the Minister for Transport and Justice, which outlined its observations on attending various courts throughout the country.
In the report, the group noted that although many drivers were summonsed to attend court on road traffic penalty point offences few were producing their licence.
Production of the licence enables the recording of the licence number by court clerks, ensuring the driver receives penalty points on their licence when convicted.
PARC founder Susan Gray told the ‘Journal’ that Parliamentary questions raised by Deputy Tommy Broughan TD also revealed that no-one has ever been prosecuted for this offence by the courts.
After discussions in July between the Justice Minister and the Courts Service, the Courts Service announced they planned to commence prosecutions before the end of the year.
Susan Gray confirmed that PARC asked for an update on this at their meeting last week.
“The good news is that they have generated an offence code for drivers who fail to produce licence in court and sent it to An Garda Siochana last week,” she said,
She added: “The code which identifies the offence will be inputted on the Garda PULSE computer system which allows the Gardai to then apply to the courts for summonses to serve on offenders. We welcome this development and look forward to seeing the beginning of prosecutions in our courts.”
PARC said these prosecutions would also encourage people to “abide by the law” in the future when summonsed to court and produce their licence to a court official.
If they fail to do so, they will be prosecuted for this separate offence.
PARC also noted that to date no-one has been prosecuted for failing to surrender their licence when disqualified.
The group received figures from the Minister which show that although 242 drivers received the maximum number of 12 penalty points in 2013 only 41 of these surrendered their licence, leaving 201 who did not do so.
PARC confirmed it has brought this issue to the attention of the Courts Service.
It has also written to the Road Safety Authority on the issue.
You can follow PARC on facebook or visit www.parcroadsafety.ie