Driving licence a privilege, not a right - judge

“IF he continues to drive like that he’ll be in the graveyard. Or worse: some innocent party going the opposite direction will be.”

“IF he continues to drive like that he’ll be in the graveyard. Or worse: some innocent party going the opposite direction will be.”

The damning words of Judge Alan Mitchell at last week’s district court, in the case of a Portlaoise man who had his charge of dangerous driving reduced to one of careless driving.

Donal O’Shea, 30 O’Moore Place, Portlaoise, committed the offence on May 7 this year. Inspector Martin Harrington gave evidence that O’Shea attempted to overtake two cars at the N80 Portlaoise, but he did not leave enough time to overtake the second vehicle causing it to brake suddenly and pull into the hard shoulder.

O’Shea has seven previous convictions, one of which is for road traffic matters.

After hearing the inspector’s evidence, Judge Mitchell deemed it a minor incident and he reduced the charge against O’Shea.

Defence, Ms Josephine Fitzpatrick admitted her client’s actions were “teetering on dangerous driving”. She said it had been very bad judgement on O’Shea’s part to put the other vehicles in danger, but she said he was hoping to retain his licence as he is studying in Carlow and needs his car to travel.

Judge Mitchell warned Mitchell he could kill himself or an innocent road user if he continued to drive in such a manner.

“Some young child could be left without a parent, or a parent left without a child,” he said.

The judge said he wouldn’t disqualify O’Shea, but he added that for any future careless driving a disqualification is mandatory. He fined O’Shea €750 and reminded him of his responsibility as a road user.

“A driving licence is a privilege, not a right,” said Judge Mitchell.