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									DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT

7 February 2011

Minister introduces fixed penalties for transport offences

Environment Minister Edwin Poots today announced that Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA)
officers will be able to issue fixed penalties to non-compliant drivers.

Mr Poots said: “These new powers will speed up the whole process without tying up the
courts in expensive legal proceedings. They will hit non-compliant drivers and
operators where it hurts – in the pocket. And of course those who comply with the law
won’t be affected.”

From 1 February 2011, enforcement officers from the DVA can issue fixed penalties for some
offences in respect of cars, lorries, vans, buses and taxis.

Depending on the nature of the offence, a driver found to be non compliant with proper
requirements can be offered a fixed penalty instead of being prosecuted through the courts.
These offences include mechanical defects, overloading, driver’s hours and record keeping,
failing to wear a taxi driver’s badge, and failing to display a taxi roof sign.

Some of these offences may also attract penalty points. However, if an offender has
committed an offence that will take them over the limit for penalty points (ie where they may
be disqualified from driving) a fixed penalty cannot be offered and they will be prosecuted in
court.

The fixed penalties will initially be £30 for a non-endorsable offence and £60 for an
endorsable offence. However, it is envisaged that additional legislative powers will be
introduced in 2011 to enable offenders to be penalised according to the type and severity of
offences.

The introduction of fixed penalties is part of a major drive by DVA to change the behaviour of
non-compliant drivers and operators. For example, any fixed penalties applied will be taken
into account when the Agency is considering whether to suspend or revoke goods vehicle or
operator licences where operators are convicted of offences involving the roadworthiness of
lorries, speeding, overloading, drivers hours offences or other transport offences.


Further information is available at http://www.dvani.gov.uk

Notes to editors:

1. Enforcement of licensing, roadworthiness and other legal requirements in respect of goods
and passenger carrying vehicles, their operators and drivers is one of DVA’s core business
activities. Under current arrangements for road traffic and roadworthiness offences, DVA
enforcement officers, unlike police, are unable to issue fixed penalties to offenders.

2. The Road Traffic (NI) Order 2007 (RTO) secured new powers to help aid the enforcement
of vehicle related offences. The main benefit of these powers is to simplify the enforcement of
offences dealt with by the Driver and Vehicle Agency.

3. Under the new powers secured by the RTO, DVA will be empowered to issue fixed penalty
notices in respect of many of the offences they are charged with enforcing. Article 16 and
Schedule 2 of the RTO inserts new provisions (and makes various amendments) in part 4 of
the Road Traffic Offenders (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 so that DVA’s vehicle examiners
will be able to offer fixed penalties to offenders instead of prosecuting them in court. It is
forecast that this would save time for all concerned in the enforcement process – namely
DVA, the courts and also those offenders who would be willing to accept a fixed penalty in
lieu of prosecution in court.

4. It is anticipated that additional legislative powers will be in place in 2011 to enable the
graduation of offences. In effect, this means that an offender will be penalised according to
the type and severity of the offence committed i.e. more serious offences will attract larger
fixed penalties.

5. The introduction of fixed penalties is part of a concerted effort by DVA to promote greater
compliance by road freight operators. Action taken by enforcement officers will be taken into
account in reviewing the status of offender’s freight operators’ licences. Operators
accumulating fixed penalties and having defect or prohibition notices issued for defective
vehicles, may find that their licence to operate is suspended or revoked altogether.

6. All media enquiries should be directed to the DOE Communications 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.

								
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