Drink and drug driving arrests double in Wicklow despite 70% fall in road users
There has been a near 20% increase in the number of people tested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs on Wicklow roads in the first six months of the year.
A report released today by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, Ireland (MBRI) shows there have been more than twice as many arrests for drug and drink driving between January and June 2020 compared to the same time in 2019.
In response to this, An Garda Síochána, backed by the Road Safety Authority, has announced the Roads Policing and operational units will be conducting checkpoints nationwide with a targeted focus on drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.
To tackle the issue, Garda members have been issued an additional 41 preliminary drug testing devices in an effort to detect intoxicated drivers.
The report published by the MBRI, found a 17% increase in the number of blood and urine specimens analysed in the first six months of 2020 compared with the first six months of 2019 (2,787 vs 2,375).
Despite there being a 70% reduction in traffic on Irish roads between the end of March and the end of June because of the Covid-19 lockdown, the MBRI recorded a 6.5% increase in blood and urine specimens taken from drivers which led to arrests.
Garda enforcement figures show that 1,216 drug driving arrests were made in the first six months of 2020 compared to 591 in the first half of 2019, representing a 106% increase in drug driving arrests.
At the release of the report this morning, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, said: “Our job is to protect communities from drink and drug drivers. It is totally unacceptable to drive if you have been drinking or taking drugs.
“This selfish action endangers the lives of all road users, so we are very concerned by the significant increase in the number of Drug-Driving arrests so far this year.
“We will have a visible enforcement presence across the country over the August Bank Holiday weekend,” Assistant Commissioner concluded.