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Sunday 18 August 2019

Clampdown to follow sharp rise in drivers being caught for drink and drugs use

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Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Startling new figures show there has been a big increase in the number of people arrested for drink and drug driving.

The Garda statistics have been released as drug drivers in particular face being specially targeted over the bank holiday weekend as part of a comprehensive safety drive.

Cannabis was the most common illegal drug detected in drivers last year.

Also prompting concern over driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) report.

It said there has been a 43pc increase in the number of blood and urine specimens submitted for analysis in first four months of 2019.

Along with the Garda report highlighting a 15pc increase in arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI) over the same period, the figures paint a frightening picture of some drivers' disregard for their safety and that of other road users.

It reveals there were 2,694 DUI arrests from January to April this year compared with 2,343 for the corresponding period in 2018.

Professor Denis Cusack, director of the MBRS, said alcohol was the most frequently detected drug in driving; cannabis was next, while cocaine overtook benzodiazepines to be third.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said the relatively recent introduction of drug-driving tests has made a big contribution to tackling what he described as "killer behaviour".

Irish Independent

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