Truck driver who failed to pay 589 tolls on M50 fined £20,000

Sixteen motorists fined £205,000 after ignoring thousands of warning letters

‘The only way this court can ensure people pay the toll is by imposing huge fines because if people did not pay the tolls we would not have our roads and not have maintenance in place,’ the judge said. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

‘The only way this court can ensure people pay the toll is by imposing huge fines because if people did not pay the tolls we would not have our roads and not have maintenance in place,’ the judge said. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Sixteen motorists have been given fines totalling €205,000 after they failed to turn up to court to face charges for repeatedly failing to pay M50 tolls.

The highest number of unpaid tolls in the Dublin District Court on Monday involved a truck owner who had a history of 589 trips on the motorway and no payments despite being sent more than 1,300 warning letters.

He was fined €20,000.

Each of the 16 motorists, who had been summonsed to appear, faced five sample counts of not paying tolls for trips in October and December 2020 and January this year.

Prosecutions went ahead in their absence resulting in fines ranging from €7,000 to €25,000 being imposed by Judge Anthony Halpin. He took into account the track record of unpaid charges in each case and the motorists’ efforts to pay.

Most of the cases involved standard private vehicles with records of between just over 100 and almost 500 unpaid trips. Thousands of warning letters were sent to the motorists, the court was told.

The largest fine on Monday was given to a motorist who had already been given a €10,000 penalty in 2018 for dodging the toll.

Imposing another fine, €25,000 this time, Judge Halpin said that driver had clearly not learned his lesson.

“The only way this court can ensure people pay the toll is by imposing huge fines because if people did not pay the tolls we would not have our roads and not have maintenance in place,” he said.

Prosecuting counsel Thomas Rice BL, instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors, said certificates detailing the registered owners of the vehicles as well as the images of them passing the toll gantry on the M50 on specific dates were obtained.

The details were confirmed during the hearing by a Transport Infrastructure Ireland witness who outlined the number of passages and payment history of each motorist.

On top of the fines, which have to be paid within six months, vehicle owners were ordered to pay €350 in prosecution costs.

The court has heard the motorway authority only selected habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings.