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Clare Gardaí concerned by rising amount of drivers on drugs

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There was a seven percent increase in the amount of Clare motorists found to be driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol in 2019.

Fourteen extra arrests of drivers found to be under the influence of drink and drugs were made in Co Clare last year. In total, 204 motorists were arrested for such an offence. In January of this year, in 27 tests 2 drivers were found to have taken drugs before sitting behind the wheel.

Three people died on Clare roads in 2019 with only a single fatality the year previous. Chief Superintendent, Seán Colleran outlined there was a “significant reduction in serious injury accidents”. He said weather conditions were “having a major impact on minor road collisions”.

Over 1,100 less speeding offences were reported with a 30% reduction in the amount of drivers got without insurance in 2019. The drop in speeding was to do with the monitoring carried out by GoSafe vans as opposed to An Garda Síochána.

Colleran admitted that the increase in those behind the wheel being under the influence is “a big concern. It is not just drink driving but also drug driving, we are seeing a trend upwards which is a cause of concern”. A breakdown to highlight the amount of drivers on drugs and those having consumed alcohol was asked for by Cllr Alan O’Callaghan (FF), “we’re all well aware as to where we’re at as a country with the drugs”.

Cllr Ian Lynch (IND) queried if non-serious accidents were included and how the statistics relating to accidents in Kilrush Rd were being collated, “maybe there is a truer figure from the Ambulance and Fire Service,” he commented and praised the presence of Garda checkpoints, “it’s not just for drink driving or tax but it can intercept criminal activity”. Further detail on the cause of fatalities on Clare roads was sought by Cllr Gabriel Keating (FG), “was it drink, speed or road conditions”.

At the February sitting of the Clare Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Colleran confirmed they could provide a breakdown of traffic collisions that had no injury at a later date. “People shouldn’t fear checkpoints, they are not to catch anyone out but to make roads safer”, He added, “I wouldn’t like to speak individually on fatal road traffic collisions”. Cllr Keating replied, “People never hear the whole story” and he was told by the Chief Supt that inquests would also determine the cause of death for such incidents.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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