Speeding and punishment

 

Sir, – I am mystified as to why some Fine Gael Ministers have reservations about the proposed graduated penalties for increased speeding (Fiach Kelly, Home News, November 27th).

If a driver manages to accumulate 12 points on their licence over a three-year period, it is because they are constantly breaking the various laws which are put in place to try to encourage better driver behaviour and if they lose their licence as a result they have only themselves to blame.

Speeding at more than 30kph/18mph over any speed limit is not accidental. It is deliberate. If someone gets seven penalty points and a €2,000 fine, it is entirely their own fault for being so reckless with their driving. They have to take responsibility for their own actions.

The simplest way to avoid penalty point and fines is not to speed. Other road users would be a little safer and, believe it or not, you will still get to your destination.

No speeding, no points, no fines. No worries. Simple. – Yours, etc,

DAVID DORAN,

Bagenalstown,

Co Carlow.

Sir, – I agree with Anthony Behan (November 27th), speed is not the fundamental problem. At least not where it is policed. Tackling accidents and death on our roads means resources must be deployed in a manner correlated to where accidents actually occur and not simply on motorways and dual carriageways to drive detection numbers up to quota. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL O’LEARY,

Monkstown,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – I agree in principle with the Minister for Transport about penalising speeding motorists. However, if he is serious about reducing speed-related accidents, he should give the motorists a fair chance and put some speed limit signs up so that we know what the limit actually is.

I don’t know how many times I have been driving down a road wondering is the limit 50 or 60kph, because the signage is almost nonexistent. Putting one sign up at the start of a speed restriction is just not good enough. There should be signs at least every kilometre to notify drivers of the speed limit. – Yours, etc,

JOHN O’CONNOR,

Raheny, Dublin 5.

Sir, – If I drive through a rural village with a 50km/h speed limit, on a dark night, in a downpour, at 80km/h, I deserve to have the book thrown at me. On the other hand, if I drive briefly at 150km/h on a near-empty motorway on a dry summer afternoon, I am not presenting any threat to pedestrians or cyclists, and half the drivers on the road – those on the other side of the motorway.

Yet I will receive the same penalty as drivers whose offence presents a much higher risk to other road users. This, of course, defeats the whole purpose of the new law – which is to penalise the offender in line with the gravity of his offence.

Of course I deserve to be penalised. But not at he same level as those whose driving presents a far greater risk to other road users than mine.

The new regulations are surely a case of the law making an ass of itself – before it is even introduced. – Yours, etc,

ANTHONY O’LEARY,

Portmarnock Co Dublin.

Sir, – The proposals for graduated speed penalties and fines being advanced by the Minister for Transport (Home News, November 26th), which are being supported by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and some others, if approved by the Dáil in 2020, will probably turn out to be unworkable for several reasons.

They are not proportionate as claimed; as little as 1 km/h over a given limit will result in a €20 increase in fine and a 50 per cent increase in penalty points while in the worst case exceeding the limit by as little as 1 km/h will increase the fine by up to 2,000 per cent with the penalty points going up by 75 per cent. It is highly likely that many of these exceedances particularly the 1 km/h value will be challenged in court on the basis of the accuracy, reproducibility and calibration of the speed measuring equipment.

Since rural country roads have much lower speed limits, I contend that rural drivers will be more adversely affected by these proposed speeding penalties; this will amount to blatant discrimination of rural drivers by the present Government, yet the Taoiseach and several other ministers have supported the newly proposed penalty system.

Surely the Minister would be better advised to deal with more urgent speeding and driving problems, for example: excessive speeding by Northern Ireland drivers who regularly break the speed limits, in my experience, on the M8, M1 and N20 roads; these drivers apparently pay no fines and receive no penalty points; and why not stop the 120,000 drivers who drive with provisional licences over extended periods of time? – Yours, etc,

Prof JIM HEFFRON MRIA,

Rushbrook,

Co Cork.

Sir, – The percentages are lost on the policy makers! Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s flat rate speeding fines don’t add up.

Exceeding the speed limit by 30km/h in a 50km/h zone is 60 per cent above the limit, when the limit is 120km/h the offence is 25 per cent above. Yet the proposed penalties are the same for each. What percentage of these fines will actually be collected? We’ll wait for that statistic! – Yours, etc,

DAVID CROWDLE,

Wexford.

Sir, – As individuals, we are not allowed to own hand grenades, automatic weapons or artillery pieces. However, we are all allowed to own motor vehicles capable of being driven at up to 100km/h faster than the maximum national speed limit of 120km/h. I await a rational explanation from the Department of Transport or the Road Safety Authority as to why this is the case. – Yours, etc,

STEPHEN LANE,

Dunboyne, Co Meath.

Sir, – It is a mystery to me how any motorists on Irish roads are caught speeding.

I conclude those caught must be texting their friends or attuned to other social media and miss the constant oncoming flurry of flashing headlights from motorists indicating that there is a Garda or Speedvan checkpoint miles ahead.

The logic of this forewarning of speedsters or criminals eludes me and I wonder is it a peculiarly Irish phenomenon. – Yours, etc,

TOM FINN,

Ballinasloe, Co Galway.