Thursday 19 September 2019

RSA urges review as 'third of drink drivers avoid conviction'

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Allison Bray

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate new figures that reveal a third of drivers charged with drink driving avoided a conviction.

New figures released by the Courts Service reveal that one-in-three drivers prosecuted for drink driving avoided a conviction.

The figures were released to Independent TD Tommy Broughan at the request of the Parc road safety organisation.

Mr Broughan could not be reached for comment last night.

The figures covered 2017, 2018 and the first months of 2019. They reveal that Co Kildare has the highest rate of convictions for drink driving at 85pc.

Co Waterford has the lowest rate, with just 44pc of drivers charged with the offence ending up with a conviction.

The figures, published by RTÉ yesterday, reveal that 9,205 people have been convicted of drink driving since the beginning of 2017.

They also reveal three-quarters of drivers charged with the offence failed to hand over their driving licenses to the court.

Brendan Ryan, chief executive of the Courts Service, told RTÉ the courts do not record the reasons why cases are dismissed or struck out.

A spokesperson for the RSA said it "cannot comment on possible reasons for inconsistencies in rates of drink driving convictions".

But they added: "However, if the numbers are correct and if there are such differences in numbers convicted, then the RSA would call on the Department of Justice, the Courts Service and An Garda Síochána to carry out the necessary research into the reasons for such differences."

Irish Independent

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