Penalty points system could be affected by technical issue

Minister for Transport seeks advice from Attorney General on problem with legislation

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe is seeking advice from the Office of the Attorney General over a flaw in the driver penalty points system. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe is seeking advice from the Office of the Attorney General over a flaw in the driver penalty points system. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times.

 

Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe is seeking advice from the Office of the Attorney General over a flaw in the driver penalty points system.

Mr Donohoe said a “technical issue” with penalty points legislation was identified last week and the issue could cause difficulty in some cases where points have already been issued.

He declined to identify the exact nature of the problem so as not to identify “a potential loophole which could be exploited in respect of road safety”.

“The department has requested the advice of the Attorney General’s Office to amend the legislation, if required, to deal with this issue,” Mr Donohoe said in a statement. “That advice will be available later in the week.”

He said he was “confident that if there is a problem, it will be resolved urgently”.

The issue, reported by the Irish Independent, was said to have the potential to impact on penalty points issued to thousands of motorists. The issue is expected to be discussed at Cabinet on Tuesday.

The most recently passed legislation relating to penalty points is the Road Traffic Act 2014, which came into effect in August.

Under the Act, the penalty points for offences such as speeding, holding a mobile phone while driving and not wearing a seat belt or not using child restraints increased from two points to three provided the fixed charge is paid within the stipulated period.

For those who fail to pay the fixed charge and are subsequently convicted in Court, the points increase further.

The issue with the legislation is understood to be an administrative one.