DRUG driving offences have seen a 50 fold increase in four years, according to Aontú 2024 Local Elections candidate Eric Nelligan.
The City East hopeful spoke to the Limerick Post following the release this week of statistics by the Courts Service.
Following a Parliamentary Question submitted by Aontú, the figures show that the number of persons before the courts nationally for drug driving, and dangerous driving, has been increasing each year despite a collapse in the numbers of Gardaí in the Traffic Corps.
The statistics released show that in 2019 some 48 people were before the courts for drug driving. This figure rose to 587 in 2020, 1,735 in 2021 and 2,248 last year.
In the first six months of this year some 1,585 people have been before the courts for drug driving.
According to Mr Nelligan, the number of persons before the courts for ‘dangerous driving’ has increased in recent years, with drink-driving cases subject to more legal challenges than any other.
Further figures show that the number of alcohol breath tests carried out at Garda checkpoints has dropped by more than half compared with pre-pandemic levels.
”The lack of roadside tests, along with the falling Garda numbers in the road traffic corp, undermines the campaign to end the scourge of substance abuse, both alcohol and drug use and driving,” Mr Nelligan declared.
“Anybody following the news cannot but be struck by the apparent high number of fatalities on Irish roads in recent days and weeks. Such loss of life is extremely tragic, and cause for concern.
“The figures released to Aontú last month show that the number of Gardaí assigned to police our roads is now lower than at any stage in the last fourteen years.
“It has dropped 36 per cent, this is the lowest number at any stage over the past 15 years. There is a clear correlation and link between the lower number of Gardaí on the roads and worsening driver behaviour,” he concluded.