Law-breaking motorists exploiting loopholes, says report21/06/2006 - 18:16:54
Speed cameras are ineffective, penalty points are no longer a deterrent and drivers are consistently exploiting loopholes to avoid prosecution, a report revealed today.
Despite efforts to make the roads safer, the Government’s own financial watchdog has pinpointed a string of get-out clauses being used by motorists facing fines or sanctions.
The Public Accounts Committee reported nearly half of all images taken by speed cameras are useless as they do not clearly show registration numbers.
In a 14-month period to December 2003, 50,000 out of 107,000 pictures were spoiled, and the situation has not improved since then with latest figures for 2005 showing a 46% spoilage rate.
The penalty points system is also performing poorly the PAC report showed. Despite helping to save up to 100 lives a year on the roads, PAC chairman Michael Noonan TD said there was a one in seven chance of drivers avoiding prosecution.
The report noted up to the end of 2003 there was a high rate of non-payment of fines, 44% of 87,004 notices issued, low subsequent enforcement, 18%, and many cases were statute barred due to delays in administrative processing.
But it noted the situation had greatly improved in 2005.
Mr Noonan, Fine Gael TD for Limerick, said penalty points are no longer the same deterrent they were when first introduced in 2002, however he gave the scheme its full backing.
He warned that adding another dozen or so offences on to the regime would compound the problem.
“The system is now creaking. It is now under pressure dealing with its first task, the pursuing of speeding drivers. It seems to me that the burden could prove very onerous on the system because it is the same gardai and the same system,” he said.
“Ordinary gardaí are being pulled and dragged in different directions.”
The system of nominating drivers for company cars was also creating a loophole for motorists suspected of offences. Some 20,000 people denied they were driving the car on the day of the alleged offence others gave addresses outside the state.
Mr Noonan also noted no toxicology tests were recorded from people killed in road traffic accidents. He suggested data showing the level of alcohol or other drugs in the system of those who die on the roads should be made available to the gardaí and the Department of Justice.
The report also called for a scientific analysis of patterns of road accidents to allow for a more focussed approach to enforcement.
more stories like this:
- once per day, no spam.