GARDAI EMPOWERED TO ARREST DISQUALIFIED DRIVERS

Gardaí can now arrest people who drive while disqualified, under new legislation introduced by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe.

Under new legislation now in force, Gardaí have the power to arrest people who drive while disqualified, in a bid to put a stop to the growing number of such drivers who continue to flaunt the law.

“Drivers who do not surrender their licences to the Road Safety Authority and continue to drive while disqualified is a growing problem that needs to be tackled. People who continue to drive after they have been disqualified are blatantly disregarding the sanction imposed by the court for another offence or offences,” noted the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe.

Figures show that, in recent years, approximately 10 per cent of drivers disqualified in any given year were later subject to prosecution for driving while disqualified. Almost 13,000 drivers were disqualified in each of 2013 and 2014, with nearly 6,000 disqualified to date in 2015. The number of prosecutions for driving while disqualified was 1,286 in 2013, 1,392 in 2014, and 592 to date in 2015.

“Before the new measures were commenced, Gardaí who identified people driving while disqualified were required to initiate proceedings resulting in a summons to court, and the case could take months to reach the courts. Under the new measures, Gardaí will be able to arrest drivers driving while disqualified, and bring them to court as early as the next day, or even on the day of the arrest, if a court is sitting,” stated Minister Donoghue.