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Editor's Viewpoint

Speeding loophole must be closed now

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'All of this has to be seen against the background of 167 road deaths which occurred here between 2018 and 2020 — 55 in 2018, 56 in 2019 and also 56 last year.' (Peter Byrne/PA).

'All of this has to be seen against the background of 167 road deaths which occurred here between 2018 and 2020 — 55 in 2018, 56 in 2019 and also 56 last year.' (Peter Byrne/PA).

'All of this has to be seen against the background of 167 road deaths which occurred here between 2018 and 2020 — 55 in 2018, 56 in 2019 and also 56 last year.' (Peter Byrne/PA).

A disturbing report which we publish in today's newspaper reveals that almost 10,000 motorists who were caught speeding in Northern Ireland within the past three years have avoided penalties because of a loophole in the law.

These extraordinary details emerged after a successful Freedom of Information request from this newspaper.

They include the revelation that 9,751 people were caught speeding by the Northern Ireland Road Safety Partnership in the three years up to April last, while 204 motorists were detected on driving through a red light.

In one of the most bizarre cases, a vehicle from the Irish Republic was detected travelling at 116 miles per hour on the Glenshane Road. This makes the lack of a successful prosecution and fine all the more worrying.

All of this has to be seen against the background of 167 road deaths which occurred here between 2018 and 2020 - 55 in 2018, 56 in 2019 and also 56 last year.

This marks a highly regrettable consistency in cases bringing death to the victims and life-long heartache to their families and friends.

It is no surprise that Davy Jackson, the chair of Road Safety Northern Ireland has urged Stormont and Dail politicians to co-operate in rectifying the glaring gap in the legislation which ought to deal properly with such a loophole in the law.

Mr Jackson expressed his disappointment with the figures, and underlined that many collisions take place in border areas. It seems wrong that anyone involved in such a situation, and having broken the law in doing so, can simply drive across the border with relative impunity.

A Policing Board member John Blair MLA, from the Alliance Party, has promised to raise the subject at the next meeting of the Board, and he has rightly described this whole issue as a matter of concern.

He has also underlined that the figures are something which the police and also the Policing Board "should jointly give serious and urgent attention to".

This is something which we strongly support as a newspaper. In the current atmosphere road deaths, which cause such loss and suffering, are sometimes overlooked when other important issues grab the headlines.

However one road death or injury is one too many, and everything must be done to bring to justice the perpetrators of extremely serious driving and other road offences, including those who are currently protected within a different jurisdiction - but hopefully not for much longer.

Belfast Telegraph


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