Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Fines for speeding, using a phone and not wearing a seatbelt are set to double within weeks in response to a recent spike in road deaths.

Minister of State with responsibility for road transport, Hildegarde Naughton, will introduce regulations to double the fixed charges for key road safety offences “that put the safety of vulnerable road users at risk”.

The regulations will see the fine for speeding increase from €80 to €160, while the fine for using a mobile phone while driving or for not wearing a seatbelt will double to €120.

It comes as five people were killed on Irish roads over the weekend, bringing the total number of lives lost this year to 94.

Ms Naughton told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland the doubling of fines will come into effect in the coming weeks as a result of the significant increase in deaths this year.

The Minister of State said she wanted to bring in a measure to increase fines which would have immediate effect. This would act as a deterrent for people on the roads, particularly in August when people were going on holidays.

Speed cameras

Ms Naughton said evidence from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) indicated that a number of fatalities on the roads were the result of people speeding, using mobile phones while driving, and not wearing seat belts.

This year alone 100,000 such offences had been committed, which was “simply not acceptable”.

Ms Naughton said the Government wanted to act quickly, which was why this morning 61 new speed camera zones were also rolled out across the country, bringing the total number nationwide to almost 1,400.

“Pinch points” across the country had been targeted for enforcement measures by gardaí, she explained. This would be achieved through better campaigning, better messaging and through increased penalties and legislation.

However, the message for motorists was that it was their responsibility to slow down and abide by the rules of the road, added Ms Naughton.

“It’s about asking the public and drivers to have that responsibility themselves. You shouldn’t need to wait for a speed van to slow down or not to use your mobile phone.”

High-risk period

It comes as the RSA and gardaí today launched their mid-summer road safety appeal, urging road users to take care as the peak summer holiday season gets into full swing.

Road users should expect higher traffic volumes throughout the “high-risk” period of August, they warned, as tourists and holidaymakers take to the road.

The highest number of monthly fatalities in a decade were recorded in August last year, when 22 people died on Irish roads. 2022 has already seen a 42 per cent increase in fatalities compared to the same period in 2021.

Garda Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, of Roads Policing and Community Engagement, said “sadly 94 families already this year have been visited by members of An Garda Síochána to be told the devastating news of the loss of a loved one.”

RSA chairperson Liz O’Donnell said a “devastating increase in road trauma” this year has left these 94 people dead and a further 673 people seriously injured.

“All of us have a responsibility to stop this upward trend in road crashes. I want to commend the Minister’s decision to double the fines for drivers who break lifesaving rules of the road,” she added.

“There are too many people being killed and seriously injured and we must act to prevent more families from going through this trauma.”

Comments are closed.

Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

More National News