Doubling the fines for speeding has not “had any effect whatsoever,” former Transport Minister Shane Ross said.
Last summer, then Minister of State for Transport Transport Hildegarde Naughton announced that fines for various motoring offences would be doubled.
The decision came in the wake of a surge of fatalities on Irish roads and figures released by the RSA this week revealed that the number of deaths in 2022 was 13% higher than in 2021.
Mr Ross, who served as Minister for Transport between 2016 and 2020, said it was clear that the doubling of fines has yet to make a difference.
“It’s a well-established truth of criminology that the deterrent is in the detection, not in the punishment,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“In other words, the threat of punishment, if it’s never going to happen, it’s not going to deter anyone from anything.
“But if they think they’re going to be caught, then they will not speed.”
In addition to 155 fatalities, there were 1,292 people who were seriously injured in road traffic accidents.
Furthermore, 41 pedestrians were killed in 2022 - more than doubled the number (20) that died in 2021.
“As we have now seen, the year end figures for road deaths are absolutely appalling and the doubling of [fines] and the threat of it haven’t as of yet had any effect whatsoever,” Mr Ross added.
In response to the figures, Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers said:
“I am very concerned that so many lives have been lost on the roads in 2022. The high number of pedestrian deaths, who are the most vulnerable of road users in our community, is also worrying.
“Working together, we can reverse this trend in 2023. For my part, I am determined to work with all the agencies signed up to the Government’s Road Safety Strategy to action measures to make our roads safe.
“Specifically, I look forward to the enactment of the new Road Traffic and Roads Bill in 2023. The Bill, amongst other road safety measures, will allow for the direct linking of vehicle and driver records held on the National Vehicle and Driver File which will assist An Garda Síochána in their road traffic enforcement activities.
“It will also allow for the regulation of e-scooters on public roads and will allow Transport Infrastructure Ireland to vary speed limits on sections of the M50.”
Main image: A speed camera and Shane Ross.