An “alarming increase” in road deaths has seen 32 more people die than at the same point last year, TDs have been told.
There has been a total of 83 deaths on road so far this year, a significant rise from a total of 51 deaths that occurred during the first 6 months of last year.
The 83 fatalities included 41 drivers, 17 motorcyclists, 12 pedestrians, 10 passengers, two cyclists and one e-scooter.
Currently Longford has the highest number of road deaths per 100,000 people, followed by Cork, Meath, Dublin, Limerick, and Wexford.
Road Safety Officials and Senior Gardaí appeared before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications to discuss the issues related to these road deaths.
Prof Denis Cusack, director of the Medical Bureau of Road safety, described the number of road deaths in the first six months of the year as an “alarming increase.”
The conversation from these fatalities, arose the question of substance abuse when driving, with tests finding that last year 2,498 cases found motorist to have tested positive for cannabis.
As well as this, 1,369 cases found motorists to be under the influence of cocaine, while 620 drivers were found to be taking benzodiazepines.
Although numbers found drink-driving to have decreased during the pandemic, Paula Hilman, Garda Assistant Commissioner for roads policing explained how numbers increased due to the restrictions lifting.
Prof Cusack believes that new cars should now be fitted with breathalysers, to prevent a vehicle from starting if the motorist is under the influence of alcohol.
It was suggested that alcohol played a role in one-fifth of the fatal collisions that have happened to date this year.
Speed was a factor in 29pc of the 83 deaths, Ms Hilman told the committee.