Deputy Tommy Broughan today echoes the praise of PARC (Promoting Awareness, Responsibility and Care on our Roads) for the comments made by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, on the need to crack down on those who drink and drive. 187 people tragically lost their lives on Irish roads during 2016, which was an increase of 25 from the previous year. Thousands of others were seriously injured. Figures show that the Gardaí arrested more than 730 people for drink driving over the Christmas period this year which was an increase of 34% on the same period in 2015.
Deputy Broughan said “Evidence clearly shows that a person’s driving is impaired if they have consumed alcohol, yet people continue to drink and then get behind the wheel of a car. Evidence also shows that alcohol is a factor in a large number of fatal collisions so why are we still seeing these behaviours. I have argued over the past number of years that the depletion of our Garda Traffic Corp, fewer checkpoints and less visibility of Gardaí on our roads since the banking crash has contributed to the rise in the number of road traffic collisions.
I welcome the comments by Minister Ross today that he is indeed taking road safety very seriously and examining measures that will reduce the number of lives needlessly lost on our roads. This is an area that I will continue to highlight through my work in Dáil Éireann and I welcome the opportunity to work with the Minister and of course, his colleague, the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality to see how the Dáil can ensure any remaining loopholes in road traffic legislation are closed. The restoration of the Garda Traffic Corps to its’ pre-2010 strength must also be a priority for both Ministers and the Garda Commissioner in 2017.”