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Tuesday 12 December 2017

'A significant problem', as drink-driving figures soar by 18pc

Sports Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Sports Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

New data reveals that the number of people driving under the influence of alcohol has increased by 18 per cent since 2016.

The data from An Garda Siochana also shows that April 2017 saw more arrests for drink driving than in any single month in the past five years. 

A total of 63 people have died on the roads to date in 2017, which is a reduction of 13 up to the same period last year.

Shane Ross, Minister for Transport Tourism and Sport, said that drink-driving is "a significant problem".

“Drink-driving in this country remains a significant problem. That is why I brought the Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty-Drink Driving) Bill 2017 before the Oireachtas, which proposes that anyone detected driving over the legal limit will receive a mandatory disqualification from driving. This is essential legislation, designed to save lives. This Bill is based on scientific research, addressing drink driving at lower limits."

RSA Chairperson, Liz O’Donnell, said:

"Road collision data and the latest arrest statistics confirm that drink driving is still a problem in Ireland. Consuming any alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of a collision. Saving lives on Irish roads requires a zero-tolerance attitude to drink-driving. That is why the RSA supports the move to introduce an automatic disqualification for drivers found to be over the legal alcohol limit.”

Superintendent Con O’Donohue of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau, said that alcohol impaired driving continues to be one of the most significant factors contributing to fatal and serious collisions on Irish roads.

"Arrests for driving under the influence continue to increase week on week. While it is disappointing to see that drivers are still prepared to take a chance it is important for all to understand that there is significant and focused enforcement by An Garda Síochána of our life saving intoxicated driving laws.”

Provisional research from the RSA shows that alcohol was present in 30pc of road traffic collision fatalities in 2013 and 2014.

The data also shows that 55pc of all fatalities with a positive toxicology for alcohol were male driver/motorcyclist deaths.

One third of all fatalities with a positive toxicology for alcohol took place in Galway (10pc), Cork (11pc) and Dublin (12pc).

The statistics show that the must popular times for drink-driving occur during the weekend and summer months.

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