Numbers don’t add up for mobile phone drivers

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LESS than half of Limerick motorists issued with summonses for using a mobile phone while driving have been prosecuted.

Between January 2017 and May of this year, 979 drivers were summonsed to appear before the courts but only 444 were convicted, according to figures released by the Courts Service.

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It was also revealed that of 979 drivers stopped by Gardaí, a third of all court prosecutions for speeding offences taken against them were struck out by the courts in Limerick on the grounds that summonses were not properly served.

1,453 out of 4,033 prosecutions in Limerick were struck out between January 2017 and May 2019. This represented 36 percent of all summons issued.

Gardaí must satisfy the court that a person who has not paid an on-the-spot fine has been summonsed to court and is aware of the court date and proceedings so they can appear and enter a plea.

Otherwise, the court can strike the matters out. But in many cases, the address of the owner of the car has changed and many drivers had addresses outside of Limerick.

A summons will also be struck out if the prosecuting Garda is not in court and the accused person is.

A driver will only go to court if they fail to pay the on-the-spot fine and many of those summonsed availed of a third payment option to avoid a court appearance.