Forty cars seized last year over dodged M50 tolls

There were 172 criminal convictions in 2018 for persistent failure to pay related fines

The M50: in 2018, 950 cases of drivers withholding payment of tolls and penalties were sent to the Dublin sheriff. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

The M50: in 2018, 950 cases of drivers withholding payment of tolls and penalties were sent to the Dublin sheriff. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Forty cars were seized by the Dublin sheriff last year as a result of motorists continually refusing to pay fines for dodging the M50 toll, new figures show.

In 2018, 950 cases of drivers withholding payment of tolls and penalties were sent to the sheriff, who is responsible for the repossession of homes and belongings on foot of court orders or Revenue warrants.

More than €158 million was paid by law-abiding citizens who use the M50, up from €149 million in 2017, Transport Infrastructure Ireland, which runs the toll system, has said.

Some 2.3 million motorists used the motorway last year and more than 188,000 Toll Violation Notices were issued.

Legal proceedings were issued against 6,488 motorists via registered post for non-payment of violation notices. However only 3,518, or 54 per cent, of these motorists accepted they received the proceedings.

There were 172 criminal convictions for persistent failure to pay a fine, up from 121 last year, an increase of 42 per cent.

In 2008 a barrier-free tolling system was introduced with photographs automatically taken of motorists’ number plates as they pass.

Compliance levels have improved consistently since the launch of the free-flow tolling system, from 96.6 per cent in 2015 to 97.3 per cent in 2018.

Payment deadline

The standard M50 toll for an unregistered private car is €3.10, which must be paid before 8pm the following day or else there is an added €3.00 penalty for having missed the deadline.

Drivers can pay the toll online, by phone or through a system in which the payment is directly debited from a motorist’s account after passing.

Motorists have 14 days from the date of issue to pay for the journey and the initial penalty, or else a further penalty of €41 is applied.

After a further 56 days there is an additional penalty charge of €103 and if it remains unpaid legal proceedings follow, with the possibility of a court fine of up to €5,000 as well as a jail term of six-months, or both, per offence.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland said it was a minority of people who persistently flouted the rules.

“Enforcement is a key component of fairness. We are protecting the ability of the 97 per cent of people who play by the rules, and issuing consequences to those who do not,” a spokesman added.

The number of seizures last year is on par with the number in 2017 but a decrease on 2016, when 65 vehicles were seized, and 2015, when 59 were seized.