Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Cross-border penalty point plan

Motoring penalties could be recognised on both sides of the Irish border

Penalty points for motoring offences could be recognised on both sides of the Irish border in a move that would be first of its kind in Europe, it has been revealed.

Mutual changes would close the loophole which allows Northern Ireland motorists to escape the sanctions for offences like speeding incurred in the Republic and vice versa.

Legislation in the north and south could be in place by the end of next year.

Stormont Environment Minister Alex Attwood said the consultation aimed to improve road safety.

"There is no model in Europe for the mutual recognition of penalty points by two jurisdictions.

"This is groundbreaking work and, in the fullness of time, it will be a template for other members of the European Union, should they choose to follow what we do," he said.

Speeding, drink or drug driving, not wearing seatbelts or using a mobile phone while driving will all included in the proposed cross-border scheme.

The Republic's Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said he had agreed a detailed timetable with Mr Attwood for new legislation allowing the mutual recognition of penalty points.

"The Government in the Republic is very keen to get a working system in place and I welcome this ongoing co-operation from Northern Ireland," he said.

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