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Proposed Legislation to Introduce Higher Penalty Points for Traffic Offences on Bank Holidays

In an effort to tackle the rising fatalities and serious injuries on Irish roads, the Minister responsible for Road Safety is preparing to present a new legislative proposal to the Cabinet. The proposed Road Traffic Measures Bill 2023 would grant authorities the power to adjust penalty points for motorists during specific periods, particularly on bank holiday weekends when road safety risks are elevated. This decision is based on road safety data that highlights an increased incidence of road deaths and serious injuries linked to driving offences during these holiday weekends.

Minister Jack Chambers is expected to outline the potential benefits of this initiative to the Cabinet, emphasising its potential positive impact on driver behavior. During the current year’s February, June, and August Bank Holiday weekends, there were 46 fatal or serious injury collisions, further reinforcing the need for enhanced road safety measures. The data also reveals nearly 10,000 speeding detections over these same holiday weekends.

This approach of adjusting penalty points during specific periods, such as bank holiday weekends, has proven successful in other jurisdictions, including Australia. Minister Chambers is also putting forth additional proposals, including mandatory drug testing by law enforcement at the scene of road collisions. Furthermore, he is working on legislation to implement the recommendations from a recent speed limit review, which aims to lower baseline speed limits on rural roads, national secondary roads, and roads in built-up and residential areas. The proposed legislation also addresses a longstanding anomaly within the penalty points system, ensuring that motorists caught committing multiple offences simultaneously will receive penalty points for each respective offence, promoting safer road practices.

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