Belfast Telegraph

Surge in banned drivers arrests after gardai powers boost

Banned drivers are being caught on the roads at a rate of three a day since gardai were handed new powers earlier this year.

Some 117 motorists have been arrested and charged for being behind the wheel while disqualified since June 22.

Thirty of the motorists were charged with extra offences during the crackdown.

A new order was signed into law on that date allowing drivers flouting a ban to be arrested immediately and brought before the next court sitting.

Before that they could wait months before legal proceedings ordered them before the courts, with around one in 10 being prosecuted.

Other offences detected by those caught in recent weeks included drink driving, dangerous driving, defective vehicles, no NCT and giving false names or addresses.

Seven have been convicted to date and four drivers have been handed prison sentences of up to four months.

A number of uninsured cars have also been seized and impounded.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said it is "worrying" that driving while disqualified is happening to such an extent.

"The Gardai are now able to deal with this sort of criminal activity in a much more immediate way, helping to keep our roads safer and ultimately saving lives," he added.

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran, of the Garda National Traffic Bureau, said it was totally unacceptable for banned drivers to continue to drive.

"It must also be noted that many of these disqualified drivers have many serious previous convictions, therefore by intercepting and arresting them, we are denying criminals the use of the road," he added.


From Belfast Telegraph