September 11, 2011

Thousands of people who were fined for speeding could escape without paying a fine or getting penalty points after  a loophole was exposed by a Donegal court.

The glitch in the way speeding summonses are issued by private camera speed operators Go Safe has already seen a number of people having their cases dismissed at Buncrana District Court.

Judge Paul Kelly dismissed the cases after drivers simply claimed they did not receive the fines in the post to their homes.

Now the Garda Press office has admitted to Donegaldaily.com that summonses issued by the privately-operated speed camera company are sent by ordinary post.

A number of people who appeared before Judge Kelly said the first they knew of a speeding fine was when Gardai arrived at their homes.

They claimed they had never received any notification of the fines by post.

Judge Kelly asked those who claimed the speeding fines did not arrive at their homes if they were prepared to swear on oath that this was the case.

Each person did so and Judge Kelly was left with no option but to dismiss the cases.

One woman told Judge Kelly that she was very embarrassed by the incident.

“The first I knew of any speeding fine was when the Gardai called to my house. It was very embarrassing.

“These letters should be sent by registered post so they can make sure that people get them.

“I have had to take a day off work to be here in court and I don’t think that’s right. This kind of thing shouldn’t happen,” she said.

The Garda Press office said they could not comment on the operational matters of the Go Safe company.

Many of those employed to man the Go Safe vans are former Gardai.

Go Safe began in November last year and has designated 750 safety camera sites in 518 zones across the country.

The numbers of drivers getting penalty points for speeding this year is expected to surpass last year in many counties.

Between January and June of this year almost 96,000 drivers had received penalty points.

This figure is over 70% of the total for last year which was 131,000.