Nearly half of speeding motorists avoid court

People also avoiding penalty points by not producing their licences...

Almost half of speeding motorists dodged a court appearance in the past two years due to summonses not being served.

The Irish Independent reports that out of almost 67,000 speeding cases listed between January 2015 and last October, around 31,000 were struck out for non-delivery of a summons.

The problem was at its worst in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, where 84 out of 99 summonses weren't served. 

In Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, 248 out of 391 summonses (63%) went unserved. The issue was most prevalent in the counties of Monaghan and Kerry. 

Not only that, many drivers who were convicted of such offences may have avoided penalty points by not producing their licence in court. It is an offence not to produce your licence in court, but it has not been regularly enforced.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said that Garda management has set up a working group to examine the matter. She revealed that several issues, including "inaccurate address data, persons moving address, or living in multi occupancy dwellings" are contributing to the problem.

The PARC Road Safety Group, which analysed the data, has called for urgent action to be taken.

PARC's Susan Gray said:

"What is happening? We welcome the fact that the Minister for Justice has set up a working group within An Garda Síochána to see how they can serve these summonses, how they can get a better service. But this problem has been going on now for years and years, and it doesn't seem to be getting better, it seems to be getting worse. So the authorities really need to sort this mess out."

A new Road Traffic Bill is expected to include measures to ensure people produce their licences in court, while the wording of summonses is to be changed so people who fail to do so will be prosecuted.