'Sliding scale' fines won't reduce speeding

By Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Published 08/12/2015 | 00:00

Deborah Coleman.
Deborah Coleman.

The notion of a 'sliding scale' of road traffic fines in Ireland has been suggested, in line with various other EU countries since a fine of €54,000 was imposed in a driver in Finland who broke an 80 km/h speed limit.

It has been suggested that the wealthier you are, the higher the fine should be but in reality, how practical is this?

Also, a fine is a fine and not a tax but this would appear that depending on how much money you have the fine could be subject to change.

The speeding and penalty points system is not nearly as efficient as it could be.

Every single week cases are struck out of court as defendants declare that they never received any fine. They receive the benefit of the doubt and they have no case to answer so why would the threat of an even bigger fine pose any worry to drivers.

The argument is that a meagre fine of €80 does noting to deter wealthy drivers from speeding.

I think this is rubbish. Firstly, just because you can afford to pay a fine, doesn't mean that you are going to speed for the sake of it.

If that was the case there would be much more of it happening.

Penalty points are what people really dread because once you clock up enough -that's it - no licence and no driving.

To a certain extent the speed vans are just a money making exercise. It's like shooting fish in a barrel placing them in 50 km and 80 km/h zones in the hope that some poor sucker will push their luck.

As a rule the level of speeding that comes before the courts is not that far above these levels - yet on other roads which carry limits of 100 km but are in now way fit for traffic at this spees - many drivers feel entitled to tailgate to the point where they intimidate others onto the hard shoulder so that they can overtake them.

These are the roads that need speed vans and more attention as this is where the real danger is.

Trying to implement a sliding scale of fines would just end up costing the State even more. Courts would require statements of earnings and adjournments so cases would take double the time and cost more to prosecute.

Besides, those who earn a good living shouldn't be punished for that but for the offence itself.

Wexford People

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