106% increase in drug driving arrests in first six months of the year 1 week ago

106% increase in drug driving arrests in first six months of the year

Over 1,200 drug driving arrests have been made in 2020 so far.

There has been a 106% increase in drug driving arrests in the first six months of 2020, according to figures released on Thursday (30 July).

The Road Safety Authority (RSA), An Garda Síochána and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) have released a number of stats highlighting the dangers of drink and drug driving ahead of the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Garda enforcement figures show that 1,216 drug driving arrests were made in the first six months of 2020, compared to 591 in the first half of 2019, a 106% increase in drug driving arrests.

Drug testing shows that cannabis is the most prevalent drug detected in drivers under the influence, followed by cocaine.

There was a 6.5% increase in blood and urine specimens taken from drivers arrested from 27 March to 29 June, compared to the same period in 2019, despite a 70% reduction in traffic during this period due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Separately, an analysis by the RSA of coronial data from road fatalities between 2013-2017, found that, where a toxicology result was available, a third (35.6%) of drivers killed on Irish roads tested positive for alcohol.

9.8% of drivers killed had a positive toxicology for cocaine, while 7.4% had tested positively for cannabis.

Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, said: "The data on drink and drug driving highlights the fact that despite improvements in road safety we continue to see a cohort of drivers engage in risky behaviour.

"The incidence of drink and drug driving during the Covid-19 lockdown period, when traffic volumes were at an all-time low, demonstrates the blatant disregard that some drivers have for the law and road safety."