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Ireland has lowest rate of motorists checked for drink-driving


A garda checkpoint on Dublin's Arran Quay. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

A garda checkpoint on Dublin's Arran Quay. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

A garda checkpoint on Dublin's Arran Quay. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Enforcement levels of measures against drink-driving and speeding in Ireland are among the lowest in Europe .

A study by the European Transport Safety Council also found the number of fines per head of population for a variety of motoring offences has been declining over the past decade.

The study found alcohol checks were “relatively infrequent” compared with most other European countries.

Ireland has the lowest rate of motorists checked for drink-driving among 12 countries that provided data.

Only 64 Irish drivers per 1,000 population had to take a breath test while driving in 2019 compared with the average of 232 among the 12 countries. The highest rate was in Estonia, with 696 per 1,000.

The figures showed Ireland had the lowest proportion of tested drivers found to be over the legal limit, at 0.5pc.

Ireland also had the fourth lowest rate of speeding fines per capita among 26 European countries. Only 28 per 1,000 motorists here received a speeding ticket in 2019. The rate was 671 in Austria and 395 in the Netherlands.

The report showed the overwhelming majority of speeding tickets issued in countries with high rates of enforcement were due to the use of speed cameras.

In Ireland they accounted for 55pc of speeding fines issued in 2019.

Ireland is one of only six European countries where the number of speeding tickets issued on a per capita basis has been falling over the past decade.

The rate here has decreased by an annual average of 9pc since 2010, the biggest reduction anywhere in Europe.

Only 84pc of speeding fines issued to Irish motorists since 2019 have been paid.

Ireland also has the fourth-lowest rate in Europe for fines issued for the non-wearing of seatbelts at 2.3 per 1,000.

The number of fines issued for not wearing seatbelts has fallen by 5pc a year over the past decade.

Ireland has the sixth-highest rate for the wearing of seatbelts by rear-seat passengers at just under 90pc in 2020.

Nearly five per 1,000 motorists here were issued a ticket for using a mobile phone while driving – the 12th-highest rate of 26 countries.

The report found enforcement of drink-driving and mobile phone rules had decreased in a majority of European countries.

The ETSC said the findings highlighted how significant weaknesses in the enforcement of road safety rules were holding back progress in reducing road deaths.

“Thousands of lives could be saved in the EU every year if drivers stuck to rules on drink-driving, speeding, seatbelt wearing and mobile phone use,” said ETSC policy director Ellen Townsend.

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