Speed cameras may be used to catch motor tax evaders

Department of Transport analysis found 5% of M50 users had not paid the tax in 2011

Traffic speed cameras could be used to identify motor tax evaders in future. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Traffic speed cameras could be used to identify motor tax evaders in future. File photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Speed cameras may be used in future to catch motorists who cheat the exchequer out of millions of euro in tax each year.

Up-to-date figures on motor tax evasion have not been compiled since 2011, when a Department of Transport analysis found that 5 per cent of M50 users had not paid the tax, “due to data protection concerns” according to a report from the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The office has asked the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to “evaluate methods of assessing motor tax compliance rates in Ireland”, which would likely require the use of cameras on motorways and tolling points to log the details of evaders.

Blessing of Commissioner

However, such a move would need the blessing of the Data Protection Commissioner, according to departmental officials, as it would constitute data being used “for a purpose other than provided for under the terms of the contracts, namely the detection of speeding drivers and the operation of tolls”.

Asked whether this may fall foul of existing regulations, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner said the proposals “would have to appropriately balance the legitimate aim to be achieved over the data privacy rights of the individual”.

Plans to create a database of evaders are to be developed over the coming months on foot of the report recommendations.