Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Cross-border accord over banned drivers

Banned drivers will be kept off the roads on both sides of the border after a deal between the UK and the Republic.

However, there is anger that the agreement doesn’t include those disqualified after accumulating maximum penalty points.

Yesterday’s agreement between UK, Irish and Northern Ireland ministers also means that drivers from the Republic disqualified in the UK will have the penalty enforced against them when they go home.

But the agreement does not apply to drivers disqualified after receiving more than 12 penalty points.

A spokeswoman for the Department of the Environment said disqualification for “totted-up” offences was not included in the 1998 European Convention on Driving Disqualifications.

Ellen Booth, campaigns officer for road safety charity Brake, said: “Brake strongly welcomes this commonsense move. Drivers who have committed an offence like the ones this agreement covers pose a serious risk to the public if they are allowed to drive in the other country.

“However, the agreement doesn’t apply to drivers disqualified under the totting-up system, which is disgraceful.”

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said the deal was good news and would make Northern Ireland’s roads safer.

And SDLP Assembly member Dolores Kelly, chairperson of the environment committee, said the deal had been “a long time coming”.

Sinn Fein Assembly member Cathal Boylan, who is also deputy chair of the environment committee, said his party wanted to see for more co-operation between North and South on road safety.

The new rules will come in to force from February following a formal declaration to the EU Council to allow the disqualifications to be recognised in different states.

It covers offences such as reckless or dangerous driving, hit-and-runs, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, speeding and driving while disqualified.

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