Motorists banned from driving in Ireland for a range of offences will have their ban recognised in the UK, including Northern Ireland and vice-versa, under a new provision signed by Minister for Transport Shane Ross on Tuesday.
The new measures are underpinned by an international agreement between the two countries as well as various legislative provisions. All come into effect today.
The Government considers that clarity is needed on the issue as a result of Brexit.The Irish Times
reports that the agreement concerns disqualifications arising from a range of traffic offences, such as reckless or dangerous driving, drink- or drug-driving, hit-and-run offences, speeding, refusal to submit to alcohol and drug tests, and driving while disqualified.
It also includes other conduct constituting an offence for which a driving disqualification of a duration of six months or more has been imposed, or of a duration of less than six months where this has been agreed between the contracting states.At present there is no cross-Border mechanism for the mutual recognition of penalties for road traffic offences for such licence holders.
“The mutual recognition of driving disqualifications is an important road safety measure because it aims to target dangerous drivers on our roads,” Mr Ross said.
“Maintaining the common travel area and our economic links with the UK are important priorities for Ireland, and this agreement will make a contribution towards that objective, as well as making an important contribution to road safety.”Under the Ireland/UK agreement, the driving disqualification is, in effect, transferred by the state which imposes it to the licence of the offender’s home state.
The framework for the new arrangements is contained in the Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications between Ireland and the United Kingdom, signed on October 30th, 2015.
On Monday, gardaí said enforcement of drink-driving and speed restrictions was rising again on the back of increased numbers of garda recruitment. Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn said another 70 gardaí would be added to the Road Traffic Corps by the end of the year bringing the full-time strength of the corps to about 760 gardaí.
In addition Mr Finn said all gardaí who graduated from the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co Tipperary, were required to spend 10 weeks in the Traffic Corps.
Mr Finn said the results of increased road traffic enforcement were already beginning to show with the number of people caught driving while drunk up 18 per cent on last year, while detection of speeding has risen by 25 per cent.
“I expect it will plateau as people realise the enforcement is rising again,” he said.
He was speaking as the Garda released enforcement statistics for July.
The Garda warned drivers to be aware that the summer months were the most dangerous with seven people losing their life in the past seven days alone, including four motorcyclists.