New mobile Garda devices do not register learner licences

Road safety group urges Garda Gcommissioner to implement technology

The Garda began rolling out the devices to front-line members earlier this year. File Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

The Garda began rolling out the devices to front-line members earlier this year. File Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

 

A new Garda mobile device designed to detect road traffic offences at the roadside cannot tell if a person is driving on a learners’ permit.

The Garda began rolling out the devices to front-line members earlier this year.

Using the device, gardaí can immediately check if a driver is disqualified, uninsured, untaxed or driving a stolen vehicle by logging into a central Department of Transport database.

However, the devices are unable to tell a garda if a driver holds a full or provisional licence, something the Parc Road Safety Group says is a serious concern. It can also not tell if someone holds a novice or professional licence.

This means if a driver says they do not have their licence on them, a Garda has no way of immediately telling if they improperly using a learners’ permit.

“Parc is aware that this technology exists - it is simply a matter of building a bridge to get one system talking to another. As a road safety and victim support group we are at a loss as to the reasons why this task has not been completed yet,” said Parc founder Susan Gray.

Ms Gray said the recently highlighted case of former minister Barry Cowen, who was caught drink driving on a learners’ permit which he drove on until he was 49, highlights the importance of the technology.

Parc “strongly urged” Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to implement the technology.