Belfast Telegraph

Transport Minister announces new crackdown on speeding

The “graduated speeding penalty system” is to be incorporated into new legislation.

A speed limit sign in Phoenix Park (Haydn West/PA)
A speed limit sign in Phoenix Park (Haydn West/PA)

By Aoife Moore, PA

The Transport Minister has announced a new crackdown on excessive speeding.

Shane Ross said he has received Government approval for new laws aimed at curbing speeding, despite initial opposition from Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan earlier this year.

Mr Ross previously said that due to issues among some representatives, the bill was sent to a Cabinet subcommittee to be redrafted, and amendments were made.

He added that no rural TD had approached him about the bill, which was widely expected.

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Shane Ross (Nick Ansell/PA)

The “graduated speeding penalty system” is to be incorporated into new legislation so drivers face more serious consequences for travelling at higher speeds.

“The objective is not to penalise people but to change behaviour,” Mr Ross said.

“We don’t want to catch people speeding, we want to encourage them to stop speeding so as to prevent deaths and injuries on our roads.”

Under the system, speeding offences will be:

– Up to 10kph over the limit – a 60-euro fixed charge and two penalty points on payment of the fixed charge, or four penalty points on conviction in court

– Between 10kph and 20kph over the limit – an 80-euro fixed charge and three penalty points on payment of the fixed change, or five penalty points on conviction

– 20kph to 30kph over the limit – a 100-euro fixed charge and four penalty points on payment of the fixed charge, or six points on conviction

If people do not pay the fixed charge and are convicted in court they will face the same penalty as currently in place – a fine of up to 1,000 euro for a first offence, up to 2,000 euro for a second or subsequent offence, and up to 2,000 euro and/or up to three months in prison for a third or subsequent offence within 12 months.

A system which will treat minor speeders more leniently, mid-range speeders the same as before, and provide stricter penalties for the minority of really dangerous offenders will be fairer Shane Ross

Mr Ross said the changes would “finally distinguish between those who were marginally exceeding the speed limit and those driving excessively over the limits” and would end the practice of treating speeding as a single offence.

“This ‘one penalty fits all’ system is not particularly fair, and it is not targeted at the most dangerous driving behaviour,” he added.

“Increasingly, it is international practice to make distinctions based on how much people are speeding over the limit. This enables a focus on the more dangerous drivers and offers a deterrent to the most dangerous speeding offences.

“A system which will treat minor speeders more leniently, mid-range speeders the same as before, and provide stricter penalties for the minority of really dangerous offenders will be fairer.”

Data collected by the Garda indicate that most people will not be impacted by the proposed changes.

The data, collected between 2016 and early 2019, reveals almost 60% of speeding offences were in the first two brackets.

An appeals mechanism will allow “questionable speed limits” to be reconsidered by road authorities.

If an individual or group believe a particular speed limit is too high or too low, a technical review which takes account of speed limit guidelines will be undertaken by an assessment panel.

PA

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