A Follow-up review of the 2016 enforcement of road traffic legislation in N.I.

Publication: 19/03/20
Driving Change - Follow-up Review
Chief Inspector urges further action on road traffic enforcement

The Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland has urged those responsible for road traffic enforcement to continue their efforts to improve road safety in Northern Ireland.
Speaking following the publication of Criminal Justice Inspection Northern Ireland’s (CJI’s) follow-up review of its 2016 road traffic enforcement inspection, Jacqui Durkin said she was concerned more had not been done to fully achieve the five recommendations made in the original report.
“The recommendations made over three years ago by the Inspection Team aimed to deliver improvement around road traffic enforcement in Northern Ireland as every death or serious injury on our roads is one too many,” said Jacqui Durkin, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in Northern Ireland.
“Fifty six people lost their lives in 2019 as a result of a road traffic collision with two thirds of those crashes occurring on rural roads,” she said.
“It is estimated there were around 31,000 uninsured drivers on our local roads in 2018-19 and with research showing those without insurance are five times more likely to be involved in a collision, we must maintain an ongoing focus on effective road traffic enforcement and road safety.”
The follow-up review found positive progress had been made in relation to the mutual recognition of driver disqualifications between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in August 2017.
“While we welcome this is a very positive step, Inspectors found officers in the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and An Garda Síochána (AGS) did not have automatic access to each other’s records to help identify disqualified drivers.
“Difficulties in accessing detection and prosecution information for disqualified drivers from the Republic of Ireland found driving in Northern Ireland and vice versa also made it hard for Inspectors to assess the impact of the change,” she said.
Ms Durkin also expressed her concern that a recommendation to set up a centralised Traffic Court and road traffic prosecution team in Northern Ireland had not been achieved.
“Road traffic cases accounted for 44% of all court prosecutions in 2018.  This represents a significant amount of court time and resources and I am disappointed that the proposed centralised Traffic Court for Northern Ireland has not yet been established.
“I hope steps will be taken to implement this recommendation and progress any associated legislative change forward.  Effective law enforcement and prompt prosecution together with ongoing driver education, will deliver better road safety for all,” said Ms Durkin.
The Chief Inspector welcomed the steps taken by the PSNI to make greater use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to detect and stop those breaking the law by driving without insurance, road tax or a valid MoT (vehicle test) certificate.
Inspectors also welcomed the progress made by the Driver and Vehicle Agency to use digital technology to carry out roadside checks on heavy goods and other vehicles and support the detection and prosecution of motoring and licencing offences.