The Dáil will debate Fianna Fail proposals to crack down on hit and run drivers today (Friday, 22 November)

The Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar has accepted the principle the Fianna Fáil Bill introducing tougher penalties for those caught fleeing the scene of an accident.

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport Timmy Dooley commented, “This is about removing any incentive for a driver to leave the scene of an accident. By fleeing the scene, a hit and run driver is putting lives at greater risk. Under our proposals, hit and run drivers would feel the full rigour of the law.

“Under current legislation, the maximum jail sentence for fleeing the scene of an accident causing injury is just 6 months. In addition to this the gardaí only have 3 hours to find the alleged offenders and test them for drugs and alcohol.

“Under the Fianna Fáil Road Traffic Bill 2013 it would be an indictable offence for anyone to leave the scene of an accident resulting in injury. The offence would carry a punishment of up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to €5,000. The time period to find and test alleged offenders would also be radically increased from 3 to 24 hours after the accident.

“We consulted with the family of 23-year-old Shane O’Farrell, a student who was killed by a hit and run driver near his home in Carrickmackross in August 2011, on these proposals. The family never got justice for Shane because by the time the driver was found, the period to test him for drugs had lapsed. The Government’s acceptance of the proposals will ensure that families in similar tragic circumstances do not have to go through the same trauma in seeking justice for their loved ones.

“I am urging the Government to keep their word and back this Bill in the Dáil today,” said Deputy Dooley.