The new plastic-card drivers’ licence, which will replace the current pink paper slip, will be processed by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in Ballina, creating 35 new jobs in the town.
The Department of Transport announced that driving licence applications are to be processed by the RSA from next January, removing the function from Mayo County Council and other local authorities.
MEP Jim Higgins who is a member of the Transport Committee at the European Parliament welcomed the decision and the 35 new jobs it will create in Ballina.
“The introduction of plastic drivers’ licences will mean a decrease in fraud, but also I believe that it suits most people to carry a credit-card sized licence in their wallet rather than the bulky paper versions we currently have,” he said.
Under the new regime, there will be a central unit in the RSA overseeing the driver licensing system, with other elements being provided by contracts. There will be a ‘front office’ customer interface to engage with the public; a ‘back office’ to process applications and a card producer for the new plastic-card format licence.
There will be a period of transition for part of 2013, during which the local authorities will continue to perform some driver licensing functions on behalf of the RSA. After that, the RSA will have full responsibility for the driver-licence service.
The new credit-card-style licence will feature the driver’s name and date of birth, photo, signature and any restrictions or endorsements, such as the need to wear glasses and any penalty points accrued. European law requires all member states to introduce a plastic-card model by next January. The Irish one will come into force on January 19, 2013.
Once this new form of licence is introduced, the old paper style will no longer be issued, but they will be still valid. However, all drivers can trade in their old model for the new one before their renewal date.
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