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Gardaí warn of 'dramatic growth' in drug driving

The warning comes ahead of the October Bank Holiday weekend.

Image: Shutterstock/abd

GARDAÍ HAVE WARNED that there has been a “dramatic growth” in drug driving. 

Speaking ahead of the October Bank Holiday weekend, Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary said that garda drug detections were “significantly higher” than in 2018. 

Figures for 2019 show that there were 6,041 people caught driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs – a 6% increase on 2018. 

“What’s of concern to us is the dramatic growth in the number of detections of drug driving. We know that the drug driving is mostly cannabis and cocaine but it is a worry for us and it is growing and it is increasing,” he said today during an event with the Road Safety Authority ahead of this weekend. 

New RSA research also found that 75% of all fatalities between 10pm and 6am – off-peak times – tested positive for alcohol. 

The data also singled out young, male drivers as far more likely to be involved in road deaths. Men account for 87% of road users killed between 10pm and 6am, as well as 87% of pedestrians killed during this period. 

The RSA also found that over a third of drivers killed in off-peak times were aged under 25. 

Cleary said that, based on data gathered by the RSA, gardaí would be focusing efforts on non-peak hours more so than ever before this weekend. 

“We have to work to our strengths. If the data is telling us that’s when the fatalities are happening, we will have to mirror that with our enforcement operations,” he said. 

There have been 118 people killed on Irish roads in 2019 – four more than this time last year. 

Cleary said that young male drivers will be targeted this weekend by Gardaí. “Too many families have been touched by heartache and tragedy,” he said. 

Moyagh Murdock, the CEO of the Road Safety Authority, called the figures “stark”. 

“It is sad to see young males are still over-represented in the figures,” she said. 

She echoed the concerns about drug driving, calling it an “emerging trend”. 

“At best you’ll be caught,” she said. “But at worst you may kill yourself or someone else.”

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