Road Traffic Act 2004

Obligation to be insured.

34

34.—The Principal Act is amended by substituting for section 56 the following:

“56.—(1) A person (in this subsection referred to as the user) shall not use in a public place a mechanically propelled vehicle unless—

( a) either a vehicle insurer or an exempted person would be liable for injury caused by the negligent use of the vehicle, by him or her at that time, or

( b) there is in force at that time an approved policy of insurance whereby the user or some other person who would be liable for injury caused by the negligent use of the vehicle at that time by the user, is insured against all sums, subject to subsection (2) of this section, without limit, which the user or his or her personal representative or such other person or his or her personal representative becomes liable to pay to any person (exclusive of the excepted persons) by way of damages or costs on account of injury to person or property caused by the negligent use of the vehicle at that time by the user.

(2) The insurance required by this section may be subject to the following limitations and the following exception or any of them—

( a) it may in so far as it relates to—

(i) injury to a person, be limited to such sum as the Minister specifies in regulations,

(ii) injury to property, be limited to the sum of €200,000,

in respect of injury caused by any one act of negligence or any one series of acts of negligence collectively constituting one event,

( b) there may be excepted from the liability covered thereby any liability (in excess of the common law or the statutory liability applicable to the case) undertaken by the insured or the principal debtor by special contract.

(2A) ( a) A draft of every regulation proposed to be made under subsection (2)( a)(i) of this section shall be laid before each House of the Oireachtas and the regulation shall not be made until a resolution approving of the draft has been passed by each such House.

( b) Section 5(2) of this Act does not apply to a regulation made under subsection (2)( a)(i) of this section.

(3) An approved policy of insurance referred to in subsection (1)( b) of this section extends to damages or costs on account of injury to persons or property incurred by the negligent use of a mechanically propelled vehicle by the user in any of the designated territories to the extent required by the law relating to compulsory insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of mechanically propelled vehicles of the territory where the damages or costs may be incurred, or to the extent required by this Part, whichever is the greater.

(4) Where a person contravenes subsection (1) of this section, he or she and, if he or she is not the owner of the vehicle, such owner are each guilty of an offence and are liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €3,000 or, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or to both.

(5) Where, in a prosecution for an offence under this section, it is shown that, a demand having been made under section 69 of this Act—

( a) the person on whom the demand was made refused or failed to produce a certificate of insurance or certificate of exemption then and there, or

( b) such person, having duly produced such certificate consequent upon the demand, refused or failed to permit the member of the Garda Síochána to whom such certificate was produced to read and examine it,

it shall be presumed, until the contrary is shown by the defendant, that the vehicle was being used in contravention of this section.

(6) Where a person charged with an offence under this section is the owner of the vehicle, it is a defence to the charge for the person to show that the vehicle was being used without his or her consent and either that he or she had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent its being used or that it was being used by his or her employee acting in contravention of his or her instructions.

(7) Where a person charged with an offence under this section was an employee of the owner of the vehicle, it is a defence to the charge for the person to show that he or she was using the vehicle in compliance with the express instructions of the owner.

(8) In this Part ‘designated territories’ means the European territories of the Member States of the European Communities (other than the State) and Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.

(9) In this Part a reference to the territory in which a vehicle is normally based is a reference to—

( a) the territory of the state of which the vehicle bears a registration plate,

( b) in a case where registration is not required for a type of mechanically propelled vehicle, but the vehicle bears an insurance plate or a distinguishing sign analogous to the registration plate, the territory of the state in which the plate or sign is issued, or

( c) in a case where a registration plate, an insurance plate or a distinguishing sign is not required for a mechanically propelled vehicle, the territory of the state in which the person who has custody of the vehicle is permanently resident.

(10) In this Part—

‘mechanically propelled vehicle’ includes a semi-trailer or trailer (whether coupled or uncoupled to a mechanically propelled vehicle) used in a public place;

‘semi-trailer’ means the drawn component of an articulated vehicle or a vehicle constructed or adapted for use as such drawn component;

‘trailer’ means a vehicle attached to a mechanically propelled vehicle (or to another vehicle attached to a mechanically propelled vehicle) or a vehicle constructed or adapted for the purpose of being drawn by a mechanically propelled vehicle.

(11) Nothing in this Part shall be read as extending compulsory motor insurance cover to any person in or on a semi-trailer or trailer when used in a public place.”.