Background

From 1 August 2017 drivers with an Irish licence who are disqualified from driving in the UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland) for certain road traffic offences will have their disqualifications recognised and applied in the Republic of Ireland. UK licence holders who are disqualified in the UK but are resident in the Republic will also have the disqualification applied here in the Republic.

Similarly, drivers who hold a UK drivers licence that are disqualified by Irish courts will have their disqualifications recognised in the UK. The initiative known as Mutual Recognition of Driving Disqualifications covers specific traffic offences committed on or after 1 August 2017. The purpose behind the initiative is to keep dangerous drivers off our roads and to make our roads safer.

How Does it Work

Where a person with an Irish licence is disqualified in the UK the authorities advise the Road Safety Authority and a District Court case is initiated here in Ireland. Where the District Court makes an Order affirming the disqualification the driver is then disqualified here also. Rules are in place concerning the length of the disqualification and while these are set out in law there are some general principles. The disqualification period will not go beyond the date which the disqualification expires in the other jurisdiction or the maximum length of time such an offence would attract if it were prosecuted here in the first instance.

Similarly, the Irish authorities notify the UK authorities where a person holding a licence from the UK is disqualified by the Irish Courts. Because of the nature of the legal systems in the UK, the disqualification can be given effect without Court case being taken in the jurisdiction.

What offences are covered by the Agreement?

In Ireland Section 40 Road Traffic Act 2016 is the relevant legal instrument, and this can be accessed here. The agreement on Mutual Recognition of Disqualifications does not apply to disqualifications arising on foot of accumulating penalty points. The agreement relates to disqualifications arising from a range of specified traffic offences covering:

  • Reckless or dangerous driving.
  • Failure to meet the obligations placed on drivers after being involved in road collisions.
  • Driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or other substances.
  • Refusal to submit to alcohol and drug tests.
  • Driving a vehicle faster than the permitted speed.
  • Driving a vehicle whilst disqualified.
  • Other offences for which a driving disqualification has been imposed by the State where the offence occurred of a duration:
    • of six months or more, or
    • of less than six months where this has been agreed between the UK and Ireland.

Further Information

If you have a general query on how Mutual Recognition of Disqualification applies in practice you can send your query to art@rsa.ie. If you have been disqualified from driving and Mutual Recognition of Disqualification applies you may wish to seek independent legal advice.

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