Fines for key road safety offences including speeding, using a mobile phone and not wearing a seatbelt are set to double, Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton has announced.

Minister Naughton is to introduce regulations that will see the fines for speeding increase from €80 to €160, while the fine for using a phone or not wearing a seatbelt will double to €120.

Other offences that put the safety of vulnerable road-users at risk will also see an increase, and An Garda Síochána have also announced that 61 new camera zones will be introduced, bringing the total to 1,373.

The announcement comes following the death of four people on Irish roads over the weekend, with the total number of fatalities so far this year standing at 94. This represents an increase of 28 or 42% on the same period in 2021.

Between January 1 and July 15, this year, Gardaí issued fines to 88,368 people for speeding offences, 10,531 people for using their mobile phone and 3,409 people for not wearing a seatbelt.

Other enforcement activity included issuing penalties to 2,898 road users for drink driving, while 1,670 people received penalties for driving under the influence of drugs.

Mid-summer safety appeal

The announcement of the stricter penalties was made at An Garda Síochána’s and the RSA’s mid-summer road safety appeal, which urged road users to slow down as peak holiday season gets into full swing.

The month of August can be a particularly dangerous one for road users as more vehicles and agricultural machinery take to the roads. In August last year, there were 22 road fatalities, the highest number in a single month in 10 years.

Speaking at the launch of the appeal, which was held at the Atlantic Technological University (ATU) in Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Minister Naughton said:

“I am gravely concerned about the high number of deaths on our roads this year. Increasing fines for these offences will act as a stronger deterrent to those who break our life-saving rules of the road.”

Chair of the RSA Liz O’Donnell echoed these statements and said that all road users have a shared responsibility to stop the upward trend in road crashes. She said:

“We have seen a devastating increase in road trauma this year. 94 people have died and 673 seriously injured.

“I want to commend the minister’s decision to double the fines for drivers who break life-saving rules of the road.”

O’Donnell added that the RSA is also set to launch a new campaign called ‘Speed Fallacy’ which aims to educate road users that believe they are saving time by speeding that said belief is not always true.

“The time savings are in face, miniscule – a minute or two at most on an average journey,” said O’Donnell.