Plan to name and shame disqualified drivers stalls

The RSA said such an exercise would challenge the idea that driving while disqualified was acceptable

The proposal was put forward a number of years ago by the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock. Photograph: Sara Freund

The proposal was put forward a number of years ago by the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock. Photograph: Sara Freund

 

A plan to publish the names of people disqualified from driving in an attempt to name and shame them is stalled after research suggested there was no evidence to “show that public disclosure adds to the deterrent, public interest, self-regulation and control arguments”.

The proposal was put forward a number of years ago by the chief executive of the Road Safety Authority Moyagh Murdock.

The measure was to apply to those drivers who receive a disqualification in court and was suggested as a response to the small but significant cohort of motorists who continue to drive during their disqualification.

Some 521 disqualified drivers received convictions for dangerous driving causing serious injury or death in the period between January 2013 and March 2015.

Between 2008 and 2012, RSA research suggests disqualified drivers were responsible for 7 per cent of fatal crashes.

All disqualified drivers are obliged to return their licence to the RSA for the duration of their time off the road but 98 per cent fail to do so.

The RSA said a naming and shaming exercise, similar to that used by the Revenue Commissioners with regards to tax defaulters, would challenge the idea that driving while disqualified was acceptable.

However, the RSA’s plan has run into data protection concerns.

In response to questions from The Irish Times, a spokesman for the RSA said the authority had carried out research as part of a Privacy Impact Assessment into the project.

This research, carried out by academics at University of Galway, looked at evidence on the effectiveness of public disclosure strategies.

According to the RSA “the findings show that the evidence does not currently exist to show that public disclosure adds to the deterrent, public interest, self-regulation and control arguments.

“The findings of the research showed the necessity for more detailed, primary research to prove/disprove the effectiveness of such a proposal.”

An RSA spokesman said the authority was “still very much committed to the concept of publishing details of disqualified drivers in some manner but we have a duty to comply with data protection requirements in doing this”.

It said further research was required.