An Garda Síochána now have the power to instantly verify at roadside checks if a vehicle has valid insurance cover.
Motorists who are found without valid insurance face having their vehicle seized as well as the imposition of penalty points, possible driving bans and heavy fines.
Ireland has the second highest proportion of uninsured vehicles within the EU, behind only Greece.
In 2022 it was estimated that over 188,000 vehicles were being used on Irish roads without valid insurance – equating to one in every 12 private vehicles.
Under provisions of the new Road Traffic and Roads Act (2023), Gardaí will now be given access via high-tech handheld devices connected to the vast Irish Motor Insurance Database (IMID) which will be updated on a daily basis with the records of all insured vehicles.
Information will include the insurance status of the vehicle and the details of the driver or drivers who are covered by that policy.
Gardaí will be able to use new hand-held and patrol-car-installed devices to apply automatic number plate recognition technology to check vehicles.
The combination of the new technology and regulations in the new act will allow Gardaí to access in a matter of seconds data covering an estimated three million Irish vehicles and a further five million drivers.
Until now, Garda efforts to instantly identify uninsured motorists at checkpoints had often been frustrated.
Gardaí will have the capability, at the roadside, to access the most up-to-date, real-time driver licence record details including the driving licence driver number which is the unique identifier of a driver.
This is expected to address the many cases where it has been difficult to identify the appropriate driver licence records in order to endorse penalty points or disqualifications.
Credit Ralph Riegel and Independent.ie with alerting us to this story.