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Banned drivers targeted in international agreement

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

A pioneering deal to keep disqualified drivers off UK and Irish roads will come into force in February 2010.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots, who was in London today to meet with his counterpart, Roads Safety Minister Paul Clark MP, welcomed the new agreement.

He said: “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.”

The measures are the result of a deal agreed between Ministers from Northern Ireland, Great

The Minister continued: "This agreement is good news and will make our roads a safer place. These measures will keep dangerous drivers off our roads by ensuring that disqualified drivers are not able to escape their punishment."

The agreement was the first to be drawn up under the terms of the 1998 European Convention on driving disqualifications. The EU will confirm the exact date of implementation.

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 13 (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.
  7. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.