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Drink driving gains almost lost to drug drivers

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has said that gains made in the decline of drink driving have been almost lost and replaced by drivers under the influence of drugs.

He said huge efforts have been made in terms of educating the motoring public to the risks, along with other partners.

“Regrettably we are now seeing things like drink driving – which was falling back and was on long term decline – those gains have now been almost lost by that being replaced by individuals driving under the influence of drugs,” Commissioner Harris said.

“So driver behaviour is a very important element in this. Speed is another contributing factor as well.

“We’re seeing collisions of all types but certainly fatal collisions and serious injury collisions where speed has been very much a contributory factor. And last year there was over 150,000 detections for speeding.”

According to garda figures, 35 people have been killed on Irish roads so far this year.

The Commissioner was speaking at a schools-led road safety initiative where children are highlighting the dangers of using your mobile phone while driving.

The safety campaign has been launched today by the Commissioner Harris at Scoil Mhuire and Scoil Bhríde in Tullamore.

The Commissioner welcomed the safety campaign from the Tullamore Rotary Club and the schools saying distracted driving due to mobile phone use is one of the dangerous behaviours that leads to road traffic collisions.

“Last year An Garda Síochána issued over 19,000 fines for people using their mobile phones while driving,” Commissioner Harris said. “This is far far too many.”

The children recorded a radio advert that will run on local radio and carries a slogan that they say is simple and easy for everyone to understand – ‘Phone Down, Safe Driving’.

New pilot road signs in association with Offaly County Council and An Garda Síochána have been erected around the town while an eight week social media campaign is being backed by pop-band Chasing Abbey and Offaly hurler Adam Screeney.

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