Tuesday 18 December 2018
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross TD, has welcomed the decision of the Government earlier today to approve his proposal for formal drafting of the General Scheme of a Road Traffic (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018 and simultaneously for the consideration of certain proposals by a cabinet sub-committee. Bringing us in line with a majority of other EU countries the Bill will introduce graduated speeding penalties into Ireland for the first time and has already generated much debate and interest.
Current legislation treats speeding as a single offence, no matter how much over the speed limit a person is driving. The new Bill will mean that penalties for speeding will be divided according to bands, with increased penalties the higher the band. This parallels the way in which drink driving is treated, with increased penalties determined by bands over the limit and more serious offenders receiving more serious penalties. Simultaneously, Minister Ross has written to Local Authorities urging them to complete the review of speed limits in their respective areas.
Speaking after the meeting of Government today, Minister Ross said:
‘Speed is a killer. It is recognised as the single greatest risk factor on our roads. It is highly dangerous and irresponsible. Speed limits are there for a reason, which is the safety of all road users. We would all like to think that drivers who are speeding would realise the danger they pose to themselves and others, and act more responsibly. Unfortunately, too many do not. I think it is time we focused particularly on the penalties for speeding, and made sure that those penalties increase according to how much people exceed the speed limit. The more people exceed the speed limit, the greater the danger.
This proposal has caused debate both with the wider community and amongst my government colleagues. I welcome their support on our mission to make our roads safer. I also am aware that the concerns of the driving community must be listened to. For that reason, I happily suggested that the penalties in each band will be considered at a cabinet sub-committee in the coming weeks to ensure they are proportionate and will have the intended result- cause people to reduce their speed and make our roads safer for all.
I am also eager to ensure that the new ‘Clancy provisions’ which are due to be commenced this week, will be fully enforceable. For that reason, the cabinet sub-committee will consider ways to ensure that An Garda Síochána can easily confirm the licensing status of all drivers, either by removing their discretion for the driver to produce the license later, or by any other appropriate means.
As we approach the holiday season, with the many dangers it presents on our roads, I would urge all road users to observe the speed limits wherever they are, and to put safety first.”
The Bill will also enable the use of variable speed limits on the M50 for safety and traffic management reasons. This will involve signs indicating variable speeds during time of severe congestion in order to achieve better traffic flow.
Note to Editors
Precise penalties appropriate to each speeding band have yet been determined and will be discussed in the Cabinet sub-committee, the drafting process and at the Transport Joint Oireachtas Committee.
There has never been a proposal to impose penalty points on people who fail to produce a driving licence, and the fixed charge for this offence has yet to be determined.