East-West co-operation on disqualified drivers

As RTÉ reports “A new deal has been made between the UK and Ireland to ensure that disqualified drivers do not use the roads in either country.” Announced by UK Road Safety Minister Paul Clark, MP, it is “the first practical step of its kind in Europe” and is due to come into force in February 2010. The Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots borrows some of Paul Clarke’s lines for his press release. [Good to see the government press industry earning their money – Ed]

“UK drivers disqualified for an offence in the Republic of Ireland will no longer escape that punishment when they return home. Likewise, disqualifications earned by Irish drivers while in the UK will be recognised and enforced when they return to the Republic of Ireland.”

From the official press releases

Notes to editors

1. The agreement is within the framework established by the 1998 Convention on Driving Disqualifications. We believe that this is the first such instance of international cooperation within that framework.

2. In 1998, the UK and Ireland along with all thirteen (at the time) other EU Member States of the European Union signed the Convention on driving disqualification (98/C 216/01). The Convention intends to ensure that drivers disqualified from driving in a Member State other than their normal place of residence should not, on their return home, escape the consequences of that disqualification.

3. The Convention provides for six agreed kinds of conduct which will be internationally recognised for the purposes of driving disqualification. The Convention automatically comes into force across all Member States only when all original signatory States have ratified it. However, the Convention allows one EU Member State to recognise another’s driving disqualifications before all Member States have ratified.

4. The agreed behaviours covered by the 1998 Convention include: reckless or dangerous driving; hit-and-run driving; driving whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs; speeding; and driving whilst disqualified. The Convention and therefore also today’s agreement does not apply to disqualifications under the totting up of penalty points procedure.

5. The UK and Ireland implemented the necessary primary legislation to allow for ratification (in Great Britain through the Crime (International Co-operation) Act 2003, and in Ireland under the Road Traffic Act (2002). The UK legislation is formulated to enter into force 90 days after the later of the necessary notifications being made by Ireland and UK to the EU Council. This means that, in practice, the legislation in UK will come into force early in February on a date to be notified by the EU authorities after receipt of the UK and Ireland declarations.

6. Mutual recognition of driving disqualification came into effect between Britain and Northern Ireland on 11 October 2004 and was extended to include the Isle of Man on 23 May 2005.

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