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Written Answers - Penalty Points System

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 688.  Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary  asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar  the way he intends to stop persons possessing foreign driving licences from evading justice when given penalty points when they break the rules of the road; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13901/12]

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Information on Leo Varadkar Zoom on Leo Varadkar Under the Road Traffic Act 2002, penalty points are required to be endorsed on the Irish driving licence record held [986]on the National Vehicle and Driver File (NVDF) and a current driving licence is required to serve penalty points. For the majority of cases this endorsement takes place without difficulty against the relevant NVDF driver record. However, where a person is the holder of a foreign licence and has not exchanged this licence for an Irish licence, the endorsement of the points on the NVDF is not currently legally possible. In such instances, the penalty points record is suspended and the penalty points period does not “count down” in the fashion that applies to normal penalty points events.

The 2010 Road Traffic Act moved to correct this anomaly and Part 5 of that Act will allow the NVDF:

to create an official driver record for a person who amongst other issues, does not have an Irish licence record, or is the holder of a foreign licence; and

to record multiple penalty points events against a driver record created in any of the aforementioned circumstances.

Part 6 of the 2010 Act, which was commenced on 1st June 2010, expands the definition of a driving licence to include foreign driving licences so as to bring these within the scope of sanctions for road traffic offences including disqualifications. Without the provisions of Part 5 of the Road Traffic Act 2010, a record of these penalty points could be held indefinitely but without the legal provision to add them to a licence record. In allthesecases the NVDF issues a notification of penalty points to the driver in question so the driver is aware of the situation.

Part 5 of the 2010 Act and the associated provisions of Part 3, which deal with changes to the fixed charge system, have not yet been commenced due to administrative and technical issues. However, work is on — going with both the Court Services and the Gardaí in order to commence the relevant sections of the 2010 Act as soon as possible. When these provisions are implemented, penalty points will be applied to holders of foreign driving licences, and they will be disqualified from driving in this State if they exceed 12 penalty points within a 3 year period.

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