Section 53 of the Road Traffic Act 1961

(1) A person shall not drive a vehicle in a public place at a speed or in a manner which, having regard to all the circumstances of the case (including the nature, condition and use of the place and the amount of traffic which then actually is or might reasonably be expected then to be therein) is dangerous to the public.

(2) A person who contravenes subsection (1) of this section shall be guilty of an offence and—

(a) in case the contravention causes death or serious bodily harm to another person, he shall be liable on conviction on indictment to penal servitude for any term not exceeding five years or, at the discretion of the court, to a fine not exceeding five hundred pounds or to both such penal servitude and such fine, and

(b) in any other case, he shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred pounds or, at the discretion of the court, to imprisonment for any term not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment.

(3) In a prosecution for an offence under this section, it shall not be a defence to prove that the speed at which the accused person was driving was not in excess of an ordinary, built-up area or special speed limit applying in relation to the vehicle.

(4) Where, when a person is tried on indictment or summarily for an offence under this section, the jury, or, in the case of a summary trial, the District Court, is of opinion that he was not guilty of an offence under this section but was guilty of an offence under section 52 of this Act, the jury or court may find him guilty of an offence under section 52 of this Act and he may be sentenced accordingly.

(5) A person liable to be charged with an offence under this section shall not, by reference to the same occurrence, be liable to be charged with an offence under section 35 of the Offences against the Person Act, 1861.

(6) Where a member of the Garda Síochána is of opinion that a person has committed an offence under this section and that the contravention has caused death or serious bodily harm to another person, he may arrest the first-mentioned person without warrant.

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