herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Over 500 drink-drivers were stopped by gardai last month

Gardai take part in a drink driving crack down
Gardai take part in a drink driving crack down

GARDAI have already recorded 544 incidents of drink-driving this year, new figures have revealed.

Figures released by An Garda Siochana for January 2015 show that - despite road safety campaigns and risk of prosecution - some motorists are still getting behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol.

There have been 15 fatalities on our roads so far this year.

Gardaí have set up 6,598 Mandatory Alcohol Testing Checkpoints and in that process nearly 30,000 people have been breathalysed. One was set up on Finglas Road January 25, when gardai stopped a driver who was breathalysed and found to be over the limit.

In that one night alone, a total of eight vehicles were seized as garda checkpoints came across five cars without insurance, three without an NCT and one drink-driver.

Breathalyser

Last year, more than 7,600 people were stopped by gardai for driving while intoxicated, a figure which was down on 2013's figures - which saw nearly 8,000 people caught while over the limit.

This month's figures are also a drop on January of 2014, where 577 people were caught driving under the influence.

Last week Road Safety Authority chairperson Liz O'Donnell raised concerns about what she described as a "very worrying" decline in the number of officers working in the Traffic Corps.

In a statement Ms O'Donnell said that while gardai were doing a brilliant job with the resources available, it would be vital to increase the number of officers in the Traffic Corps.

"The RSA notes the release of figures indicating that the number of gardai in the Traffic Corps has fallen from 1,200 in 2009 to approximately 750 in 2014.

"This drop in Traffic Corps numbers is a very worrying trend," she said.

"The RSA acknowledges that recruitment and training of new gardaí has recommenced and would request that as a priority, road safety policing and the provision of new resources to the Traffic Corps be prioritised."

Last year there were 197 fatalities on our roads, which was an increase of six on figures from 2013.

hnews@herald.ie