Gardai to get app for checking driver details on roadside
Gardai to get app for checking driver details on roadsideThe Gardai have outlined a plan for members of the force to get a mobile phone app to let them check a driver's details at the roadside.
The new app will access a database of names and details of insured and uninsured motorists, their driving licence and insurance policy numbers.
The app, which will be available later on this year will contain information on all privately owned vehicles and their owners.
Eoghan Murphy, a Junior minister in the Government said: "The ultimate aim is to provide An Garda Siochana with a mobile app, on an 'authorised user' basis, to allow for roadside access to the database."
It is planned for the database to be expanded in 2018 to include all fleet owned vehicles.
The technology could allow in the very near future for gardai to have automatic number plate recognition technology pinned to their jacket which processes vehicle and owner details as they walk down a street on the beat.
Licence plate recognition technology is already in place in some patrol cars but at present they do not have a full and complete database of vehicles, drivers, insurance and ownership.
All of these new measures have are a result of an Oireachtas Finance Committee as report on the rising cost of motor insurance after premiums have skyrocketed by more than 50% over the last five years.
There are also calls for a "specialised and dedicated insurance fraud unit in the Garda" to be funded by the insurance industry in a similar model which has been been used to some success in the UK.
The minister said: "If you were going down this route, as they have done in the UK, there is absolutely clear separation between the money that would go into the entity and the operational powers and the decisions that get taken,"
Others are not so sure that this would be a good idea. Pearse Doherty, Sinn Fein finance spokesman, said at an extreme it suggested privatisation of a section of the Garda.
"I'm issuing a very clear warning shot that this is a slippery slope," he said.
"The precedent is terrible - so do we allow big business to employ, to fund, certain other sections of the gardaí that would be of benefit to big business?
"A precedent has already been set. This is a Government document, approved by cabinet, that is looking to consider big business fund, directly, a section of An Garda Síochána."
The level of uninsured driving in Ireland according to figures from the Motor Insurers' Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) was at 7.1% in 2015.
50-60 million euro is paid out each year to cover claims involving uninsured drivers and this is adding about 30 euro to premiums. Added to this, an additional 50 euro a year is added to premiums due to the cost of fraud which accounts for about 200m euro a year.
The report contains 33 recommendations but it is not expected that all of these will be implemented and the likelihood of dramatically lower premiums is quite slim.