Earlier this month I asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to provide, in tabular form, the number of drivers who surrendered their licences to the Road Safety Authority, after being disqualified by the Courts from driving for a long period, after being found guilty of dangerous driving, causing death, in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015, to date; the number of drivers who applied to have their licences re-instated, early; and the number of licences successfully re-instated, early, in 2012, 2013, 2014, and to date in 2015. The reply I received from Minister Donohue on the 10th of March 2015 was to say that he had referred the question to the Road Safety Authority and that they would reply directly to my office.
The worrying information received from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) today is as follows:
Myself and Susan Gray of PARC Road Safety Group have been trying to determine, for many months now, the true numbers of prosecuted drivers who are surrendering their licences and also those who are having the correct amount of penalty points put on their licences. There are still questions to be answered and clarification required from the Courts Service, the RSA and the Gardaí about follow-up on drivers surrendering licences. There must be joined-up thinking between these agencies to ensure that relevant data is recorded and disseminated to enable those agencies to enforce our road traffic laws.
The figures provided to me by the RSA today are very worrying. Why are so little surrendering their licences and why are there so many driving with no licences? Their reply goes on to explain that “*No Licence” indicates that there was no licence held on the date of disqualification and that they do not have information on the number of drivers who had their licence re-instated before initial disqualification.
If 714 drivers were disqualified in 2014, only 16 surrendered their licences, 289 had no licence and 148 had expired licences that still leaves over 250 drivers with valid licences who did not surrender. These figures are not good enough. Who is following up on this to ensure the correct legislative procedures are being carried out? Has the RSA informed the Gardaí of these numbers? Minister Donohue needs to sit down with all parties involved in enforcing our road traffic laws and urgently address the discrepancies between road traffic legislation and actual enforcement.