New road traffic law to be enacted as soon as possible

New road traffic law to be enacted as soon as possible

Legislation aiming to improve road safety, including by closing a so-called loophole allowing some motorists to avoid a six-month driving ban, will be enacted as soon as possible following its approval by the Oireachtas.

The Road Traffic Bill 2024, approved by TDs last month and by Senators on Friday, amends section 2.8 of the Road Traffic Act 2002 to prevent motorists avoiding penalty points which would disqualify them from driving for six months by instead serving shorter, ancillary disqualifications.

The change follows media reports of cases where lawyers successfully applied on behalf of their clients for a short ancillary disqualification order, for example for a single day, to avoid the imposition of penalty points.

Other measures in the bill include the introduction of mandatory drug testing following serious collisions, as is already the case for alcohol; lower default speed limits in line with a review published last September; and a number of technical amendments.

Jack Chambers, minister of state with responsibility for road safety, said: “I am very pleased to see this bill passed and I would like to thank both Houses of the Oireachtas for assisting in the swift passage of this essential and life-saving legislation.

“We have witnessed a very disturbing upward trend in road deaths in the last few years, which is continuing into this year.

“This new legislation seeks to bring systemic improvements to road safety including reductions in speed limits, reform of penalty points, and mandatory drug testing at the scene of serious collisions. This is a key part of this government’s strategy to reverse the trend of rising fatalities and help make our roads safer for all users.”

Transport minister Eamon Ryan added: “I welcome the passage of this important bill. It is a short and focused piece of legislation, and it will act as a vital tool in the government’s response to the concerning trend we are witnessing on our roads.

“Too many families have experienced the loss of a family member on our roads, and it is important that we respond in a robust manner. Safer speeds, increased penalties and mandatory drug testing send a clear signal and will encourage safer driving behaviours.”

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