DRIVING bans handed out in Britain and Ireland are set to follow the offender home as both countries mutually recognise disqualifications in both countries.
From August 1 drivers who are disqualified or pick up driving offences while moving between the two countries, will carry the offence over to their home jurisdiction.
The new measures means Irish drivers who are normally resident in Ireland or holding an Irish driving licence disqualified in Britain and Northern Ireland for certain road traffic offences will have their disqualifications recognised and applied in Ireland country.
Similarly, British and Northern Irish drivers disqualified by Irish courts will have their disqualifications recognised in Britain.
The road traffic offences included are:
- Reckless or dangerous driving
- Failure to carry out the obligations after being involved in road accidents
- Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances
- Refusal to submit to alcohol and drug tests
- Driving whilst disqualified
Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross announced the new provision to facilitate the mutual recognition between Britain and Ireland.
“The mutual recognition of driving disqualifications is an important road safety measure because it aims to target dangerous drivers on our roads," Minister Ross said.
"The disqualifications relate to drivers disqualified for reckless or dangerous driving, hit and run driving, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
"Mutual recognition of driving disqualifications is an important road safety measure for both Ireland and the UK, and is one of a series of measures I am introducing which will reduce road injuries and ultimately save lives.
The Minister added: “Maintaining the common travel area and our economic links with the UK are important priorities for Ireland, and this Agreement will make a contribution towards that objective, as well as making an important contribution to road safety.
"The new measures are underpinned by an International Agreement between Ireland and the UK, which comes into effect today and primary legislative provisions in Ireland and the UK, which have been commenced today.
"Under the Ireland/UK Agreement, the driving disqualification is, in effect, transferred by the State which imposes it to the licence of the offender’s ‘home’ State. So, the legal consequence of the offence committed follows the offender home."
The Agreement concerns disqualifications arising from a range of traffic offences, such as, reckless or dangerous driving, wilful failure to carry out the obligations placed on drivers after being involved in road accidents, driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances affecting or diminishing the mental and physical abilities of a driver, refusal to submit to alcohol and drug tests.
Driving a vehicle faster than the permitted speed, and driving a vehicle whilst disqualified will also be offences recognised by the Agreement.
Other conduct constituting an offence for which a driving disqualification has been imposed by the State of the offence includes a ban of six months or more, or of a duration of less than six months where this has been agreed between the Contracting States.
The framework for the mutual recognition of driving disqualifications between Ireland and the Britain is contained in the Agreement on the Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications between Ireland and Britain, signed in October 2015.