Cross Border Initiative on Toll Offenders
On 10 January the Irish News revealed that northern drivers are being pursued for tens of thousands of euro in fines through what the paper calls a “baffling payment system.” The majority of offences committed by drivers in the North relate to unpaid tolls on the M50 around Dublin
The paper reports that the only place in Northern Ireland where the three euro pre-pay toll can be settled over the counter has been tracked down to a corner shop in Jonesborough, South Armagh.
According to the toll company which operates the overall system, knowing nothing about the charge is no excuse for what it calls 'foreign-registered' vehicles failing to pay.
More than 10,000 motorists from Northern Ireland who have broken traffic laws or failed to pay road tolls in the Republic are being pursued for restitution. The Republic’s National Roads Authority (NRA) said it was now contacting all drivers in Northern Ireland who had unpaid tolls to warn them that they will face fines if they do not start paying up.
This follows the cross-Border agreement which allows authorities to share information on law-breaking motorists for the first time since March of last year. The North’s department responsible for transport is also pursuing more than 2,300 motorists from the South. Under the agreement, drivers from the Republic have to pay speeding and parking fines received in Northern Ireland — fines they were previously able to avoid.
The data exchange pilot project was created to “facilitate the better enforcement of parking fines and toll charges for motorists travelling between both jurisdictions.”
The project builds on an existing reciprocal agreement with the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLNI) in Northern Ireland to exchange vehicle information on issues such as motor tax and abandoned vehicles.
Most by drivers from the South concern parking. The M50 toll alone generates about €100 million a year. It is the busiest road in the country, with 100,000 vehicles using it every day.
M50 drivers are given three payment options — buying a tag, opening a video account which will lead to a charge, or using a pay-as-you-go system, where the motorist must pay the toll by 8pm the following day. Anyone who passes between Junction 6 and Junction 7 has to pay. The NRA has admitted that “chasing every toll user from north of the border is an inefficient use of resources” and its focus remains on getting drivers to set up accounts.