Department of Transport in breach of EU Directive to identify and prosecute non-resident drivers – Mattie McGrath

Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to clarify what legal action is being pursued against Ireland by the European Commission following its failure to comply with reporting obligations under a EU Directive on cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences. Deputy McGrath was speaking after the Commission issued the notification of legal proceedings against Ireland in its monthly package of infringement decisions:


“This EU Directive sets out rules which reduce the impunity of foreign drivers who commit dangerous traffic offences in member states where there car is not registered. It also makes it easier for police authorities in different EU countries to share information to identify offenders.


As I understand it, The Directive applies to the following offences: speeding, failing to use a seatbelt, drink-driving, driving while under the influence of drugs, and using a mobile phone or other communication device while driving.


Every country must give any other country investigating an offence committed on its roads access to their national vehicle registration data, so they can identify vehicles and their owners or users.


If the country where the offence took place decides to take further action, they must notify the possible offender and inform them of the legal consequences.


To monitor the performance of this arrangement, each country must send a report to the Commission with details of searches made and of the number of notification letters subsequently sent out.


Minister Ross’s Department has totally failed to comply with this obligation despite the Vehicle Registration Data (Automated Searching and Exchange) Act 2018 having being signed into law on in April 2018.


This effectively means that while he was busy devising ways to make life extremely challenging for rural drivers and introducing punitive drink driving legislation affecting Irish citizens, he was doing nothing to assist in the identification and prosecution of foreign registered drivers on our roads.


As I understand it he was obligated to submit the report that identifies and helps to prosecutes non-resident drivers by 6 May, 2018. He now has two months to comply before further legal action is taken by the Commission,” concluded Deputy McGrath.


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