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Speeding

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  1. Speeding (general).

Excess speeding can be problematic for two reasons: it will often lead to penalty points but in some cases can even lead to an arrest and a charge of dangerous driving.

Firstly, penalty points.

Driving over speed limit penalty

If you exceed the speed limit, you’ll often get a speeding ticket in the post. The fine is €160. If this fine is paid within 28 days, three points are applied to your licence and that is the end of the matter.

If it’s not paid a second payment option is available. The fine rises to €240 and if this is paid within a further 28 days that is the end of the matter.

If you don’t pay this ticket within the time allowed, you’ll receive a summons for court for speeding.

If you’re convicted in court, you’ll receive 5 penalty points. On average, the fine is usually between €200 and €400 based on whether you have previous convictions for speeding.

Driving ban for speeding

Once you accumulate 12 points within three years, you’re automatically disqualified for 6 months.

If you’re a novice driver and you accumulate 7 points within three years, you’ll be disqualified for 6 months.

The law presumes that you received the fine in the post. If your defence is that you didn’t receive the fine in the post, you’ll have to give evidence of this in the witness box in court.

It is possible for a person not to receive the fine in the post. This does happen. But about 100,000 fixed charge penalty notices are issued every year and more than 90% of them are delivered to the motorist through the post.

Less than 10% are not delivered. This leads to a predictable scepticism among some judges when they hear people say under oath that they didn’t receive the fixed charge penalty notice.

Similar to the UK, Irish law (section 81 Road Traffic Act 2010) provides that it is “not necessary to prove that the’ [speed gun] or ‘electronic…apparatus was accurate or in good working order”.

This means that arguing that the device was defective is not a defence.

If challenges do occur as to speed, they will only be accepted if it is shown that the mistake was due to human error and not the equipment used.

  

If a person is prosecuted for speeding, they cannot be convicted of speeding based on the opinion of a witness that they were exceeding the speed limit. After all, how can a person accurately determine what speed you drove at? q

Evidence should be provided by some electronic device. This is almost certainly due to the fact that, with the best will in the world, honest witnesses do make mistakes when it comes to estimating speed.

This has been long understood by courts across the world.

If the main prosecution evidence in a criminal trial relies on the testimony of an eyewitness, the trial judge must warn the jury that they should exercise caution in deciding to convict someone in the absence of some other corroborative evidence.

If the State have two witnesses who corroborate a person’s speed, both witnesses can only corroborate each other if they saw the same incident in the same area.

In other words, if one witness gives evidence that in their opinion you exceeded the speed limit in one location, the other witness’s view that you exceeded the speed limit at a different part of the road a few minutes later, is not corroborative evidence.

Both witnesses must see your driving in the same location.

Speeding fine, someone else driving.

 

Its possible for you to receive a fine in the post addressed to you even though you were not the driver.

Fixed charge penalty notices are sent to the registered owner of the car, not necessarily the person who actually drove. This is because the speed vans parked at the side of the road do not stop you as your car drives past.

These vans are staffed by people who monitor the speed cameras inside. At the end of the day, they pass the information from that day to the Gardai. Fixed charge notices are then sent to the registered owner of cars that have been recorded speeding.  

Its not uncommon for spouses, friends or children to be insured to drive your car. If they exceed the speed limit a notice will be sent to you from the Fixed Charge Processing Office in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. It’ll be sent to you as you are the registered owner of the car.

 

If you were not driving your car when the speeding incident occurred, you can complete the form by nominating the name and address of the person who was driving at the time. This form is then posted to the Fixed Charge Processing Office (FCPO).

Beware: as the registered owner you have 28 days to return the form with the nomination of the person responsible. If you don’t do this, you are deemed to be responsible for the speeding fine.

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2. Dangerous driving (due to speed).

Is speeding dangerous driving?

 

If you are detected driving at a very high speed, it can be regarded as dangerous driving on its own.

There is increasing evidence from courts around the country that judges are taking a stronger line against excessive speed. To many judges, one of the primary causes of deaths on roads is excessive speed.

As far as many judges are concerned, they have a responsibility to the people who live in their jurisdiction to keep them safe from dangers posed by other road users.

So, what is excessive speed?

This is difficult to quantify but whenever someone is charged with dangerous driving (due to excess speed), it usually results from an event on a motorway, rather than a national secondary route.

What can we deduce from this?

Obviously, the Gardai patrol in force on motorways because motorways yield far higher opportunities for excess speed detections.

 

Motorway speed limits are 120kph. These are regarded as a limit to keep to, not a target to be aimed at.

If a person travels at speeds exceeding 145kph on a motorway they are coming perilously close to a charge of dangerous driving, if the very bad driving is due to speed alone.

If at lesser speeds, if your driving caused other road users to take avoidance action to prevent a collision, this can be viewed as dangerous driving.

If the individual Garda feels that the speed that you were driving at constitutes dangerous driving, then you will likely be arrested and taken to the Garda station to be charged for court.

While this is highly subjective, some of the things that judges will want to know include how heavy the traffic was on the road at the time or what the weather conditions were like.

In these circumstances the judge will look for explanations.

Was there an emergency of some sort that prompted you to drive in this way? For instance, were you taking someone who had suddenly become very sick to hospital?

In truth, there is almost never an emergency, or if there is some pressing ‘issue’, its usually something fairly insignificant like being late for an appointment. In other words, certainly not something that could plausibly be regarded as an “excuse”.

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Can you get banned from driving for speeding?

 

Some people find it difficult to understand how speeding could be regarded as dangerous driving. The answer lies in what the law regards as dangerous driving.

Dangerous Driving is defined under section 53 of the Road Traffic Act of 1961. The first line reads:

A person shall not drive a vehicle in a public place in a manner, (including speed) which having regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the condition of the vehicle, the nature, condition and use of the place, and the amount of traffic which then actually is or which might reasonably be expected then to be in it) is or is likely to be dangerous to the public”.

The first line is important here.

It specifically indicates that speed on its own can constitute dangerous driving. Other aspects (state of your vehicle, how much traffic was there, weather conditions) are also important in determining whether the driving was dangerous, but speed alone can do it.

Remember, the test for dangerous driving is whether a “reasonable, prudent person” would drive in such a manner.

Most people regard their parents as “reasonable, prudent” people. Would your parents drive at 180kph on the motorway?

 

There’s your answer.

His Priority Is The Same As Yours: Keeping You On The Road.

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