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22% rise in drink driving detections

Clare’s Joint Policing Committee heard that there has been a 22% increase in the number of people caught drink driving in the county this year, with 27 more people detected under the influence.

The issue of drink driving was relayed as “an area of concern” by Clare’s Chief Superintendent John Kerin, who told the committee that more young people are being detected now than in the previous 10 to 15 years.

“It is a trend we are seeing country-wide. It is a worrying trend. What I’d be saying to them is you might get away with it one night, maybe two but you will be caught,” he said.

Supporting this, he stressed that there were 13,572 breath tests conducted in the county so far this year, an increase of 48% on last year.

Chief Superintendent Kerin said he will make no apology for this increase, as it saves lives.

He said people might say that this is too many but he said he has “no tolerance for anyone drink driving. We all know the rules and if it will save people’s lives, I won’t apologise for it.”

He added that he is aware that the statistic must represent a significant proportion of the population of Clare. Based on the 2011 Census figures, this statistic would account for 11.5% of the county’s population but it is not known what percentage it would represent of the county’s driving population.

It was pointed out that the breath tests would not just be confined to locals and many would be people passing through the county.

Chief Superintendent Kerin said the reasoning behind conducting these tests is to try to create a presence warning people that it does not matter what part of the county they are in or what time of the day it is, they will be caught.

He also gave the committee a worrying example of how drink-driving trends are changing, noting that the time of day to find people drink driving is no longer confined to night time as it once was.

“Society is changing and trends are changing. There is now no set hours for drink driving. We had a detection last week at 5pm, where someone was four times over the legal limit,” he revealed.

The Chief Superintendent also said that education is an important part in the effort to curb drink driving in young people.

Addressing road safety, he commended the council for works they had carried out in road design to help reduce road deaths.

Carol Byrne

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