Currently people driving maybe 3 or 4km/ph over the speed limit face the same fine and allocated penalty points as people who drive at dangerous speeds of 40/50 km/ph over the speed limit. Ridiculous in this day and age, isn’t it? Following calls made by constituents who received penalties for minor speed offences I called on the Minister for Transport to rethink the way in which speed penalties are distributed; A simple change in the allocation model would make it fair and more effective. In my opinion anyone driving in huge excess of speed limits should face stiffer penalties; a penalty point allocation suited to the level of danger they are bringing to other road users. One example used by a constituent was the 50 km/ph speed limit along Heuston Station which is by all intensive purposes a dual-carriage way. I would also support a re-examination of national speed limits with stiffer penalties for people driving over the limit in residential areas and populated areas, I support the campaign by the family of Jake Brennan who died tragically in a residential area with inadequate speed limits and the calls of his family to reduce speed limits in residential areas, however the Government fail to monitor this at all; the big question to answer on the use of the new ‘outsourced’ speed vans is the locations and are they chosen to catch people out (money makers/ quota makers) as opposed to being deployed for safety purposes in build up areas such as residential areas and areas near schools.
(See attached file: speed cam.jpg)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport if he will acknowledge the possible need to amend the Road Traffic Act of 2004 Section 47 as inserted by section 11 to take account of a person’s actual speed when applying fines and penalty points for driving in excess of speed limits; his views that for a fairer and more transparent system stricter fines and penalty point allocations should apply to a person who broke speed limits in excess 20km per hour in comparison to a person who is 2/3km over the speed limit as one is causing far greater risk to road safety and disregard to the laws then the other; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– Maureen O’Sullivan.
Answered by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport
One of the main causes of road crashes on Irish roads is excessive and inappropriate speed. My Department, in conjunction with the Road Safety Authority, An Garda Siochána and other stakeholders, is continuing to examine this area to identify measures that can be taken to bring about future reductions in fatalities and serious injuries.
The main goal of the penalty point system is to make drivers more aware of unsafe driving behaviour and by doing so, improve that behaviour. Under current legislation, in addition to the imposition of a fine and the allocation of penalty points for speeding, an option exists for An Garda Síochána to prosecute an individual for dangerous driving where their speed is or is likely to be dangerous to the public. I have no plans in the near future to change the current system in relation to speeding offences, although I will keep the Deputy’s suggestion in mind when the penalty point offences are next reviewed.