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Dramatic drop in drink driving cases in courts

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A garda checkpoint. Photo: Garrett White

A garda checkpoint. Photo: Garrett White

A garda checkpoint. Photo: Garrett White

THERE has been a dramatic fall in the number of drink driving cases being dealt with by the courts.

New figures show the number of drink driving cases slumped by 60pc since random breath testing was introduced in 2006.

The statistics show yearly declines in the number of drink driving cases being dealt with by the courts, which could be a clear sign that fewer drivers are taking a chance and driving while under the influence.

However, the problem still hasn't gone away, as the figures reveal that nearly 4,200 drink drivers were disqualified from being on the roads last year.

The district court handed down almost 4,000 fines, and imprisoned some 165 people for drink driving last year, according to the Courts Service.

Meanwhile, 220 offenders received suspended sentences and another 63 were ordered to undertake community service.

The Courts Service said that in terms of drink driving, the 11,329 district court matters disposed of were down 39pc over the previous two years.

However, compared to eight years ago, the number of drink driving orders from the district court was down dramatically at almost 60pc, from the 27,836 made in 2006.

Meanwhile, in terms of dangerous driving, 3,886 orders were made in the district court last year, which was down 15pc on the previous year.

The figures show that 231 people were sent to prison in relation to these offences; 95 others had sentences imposed but suspended; 32 undertook community service and 474 people were fined.

There has also been a 42pc reduction in dangerous driving matters dealt with in the courts over the last eight years, according to the research.

In 2006, 6,721 dangerous driving orders were made.

The Courts Service figures also showed that there have been major changes in the occurrence or prosecution of road traffic offences over the past decade.

While the overall number of cases dealt with have only increased by 1pc, the types of offences have changed greatly.

The number of road traffic cases disposed of in 2005 was 198,412, compared to 200,786 last year involving almost 130,000 defendants.

Road offences account for a large proportion of cases coming before the district courts, the figures show.

Fatalities

Meanwhile, figures from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the gardai, published earlier this month, showed that there was an alarming increase in the number of child, cyclist and pedestrian casualties on the roads in the first seven months of the year.

Between January and July, there were 104 fatal collisions, which resulted in 113 deaths. This represented two more collisions and five more deaths compared to the same period in 2013. There are fears that the death toll could reach 186 or higher this year if trends continue.

fdillon@herald.ie


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