Garda Inspector Michael Harrison
Drivers appearing in court who have committed motoring offences while disqualified is now much more common in Donegal, a senior garda has said.
Garda Inspector Michael Harrison said he seldom sits in a court where a driver who has been disqualified does not appear facing more motoring charges.
The comments come as the Road Safety Authority (RSA) says it wants to create a register of disqualified drivers in a bid to name and shame motorists who have been banned.
Figures from the RSA show that 7,651 licences last year had multiple banning orders on them.
Inspector Harrison said the appearance in court of drivers who have been banned is becoming a more common occurrence in courts in Donegal.
“I seldom sit in a court where there isn't someone who has been driving while disqualified,” he said.
“It is common now and it is a bigger problem than it was. It was always a problem but it has become an issue that people are ignoring disqualifications. It appears not to mean anything to them.
“It is definitely a problem. There are people who have committed an offence while driving and have been disqualified and it is a lack of respect for the law and for other road uses. They have been disqualified and they should accept the qualification and not drive.”
Driving while disqualified is no longer a separate offence from driving without a licence but there is a mandatory additional fine for driving while disqualified, he said.
“Some of these people have pleaded guilty and have accepted penalty points and disqualification and for some reason or another they choose to ignore the fact that they have a disqualification and no insurance and get into a car and drive while disqualified.
“They have no defence for it. It is not the fault of the guards or the courts that they are caught.”