About 1 in 12 Irish drivers have been involved with a collision or experienced a near miss because of drink driving, according to a recent AA Car Insurance survey.
7.39% of the over 6,000 motorists surveyed reported having been involved in a near miss or collision where one of the drivers was under the influence of alcohol. About 40% of those alcohol-related collisions or near misses happened within the last 12 months.
“As a country, our attitude towards drink driving has come a long way, but there is still a great deal of work to be done in order to truly stamp out this behaviour,” said AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan.
“Some of the worst accidents we see on our roads every year happen as a result of someone taking the immoral decision to drive while over the legal blood alcohol limit.
“While it is a positive development that so few of those surveyed reported experiencing a near miss or collision caused by drink driving within the last year, this behaviour puts all road users at risk and frankly needs to be relegated to a part of Ireland’s past.”
17.41% of the near misses or collisions took place on primary or main roads, whereas 25.05% happened on secondary roads and 16.99% occurred on minor roads, which leads AA Car Insurance to argue the need for increased Garda resources focused on drink driving in those areas.
Cork Gardaí: This ‘Mobile Off Licence’ was stopped by Gardaí yesterday. Disqualified driver ‘Driving’! arrested for drink driving. Court proceedings to follow.
— An Garda Síochána (@GardaTraffic) January 22, 2018
“It would be factually inaccurate to claim that drink driving only happens in rural areas and on secondary or minor roads, but what we do know is that these areas are not effectively policed on a regular basis in terms of identifying drink drivers,” Faughnan said.
“Due to a lack of resources Gardai have to prioritise the policing of major routes, but in order to stamp out drink driving we need to see Gardai outside pubs across the country at closing time and along minor roads.”
Minister for Transport Shane Ross presented a bill last July to automatically disqualify the license of anyone caught driving while over the legal alcohol limit. The bill passed the Second Stage and was referred to a Select Committee last Thursday.
“While we’re delighted with that recent legislation to tackle drink driving introduced by Minister Shane Ross was successfully passed, we now need to look at providing Gardai with the resources they need to enforce these laws,” Faughnan said.
“Unfortunately, if people have not seen a Garda on their journey home in months or years, they may be tempted to take the chance of drink driving.
“While it’s ultimately the motorist’s own responsibility to obey the rules of the road, a more visible Garda force on minor roads would certainly help stamp out this behaviour.”