The amount of arrests for drink driving in Laois are up from the end of 2017 to the same period last year, according to the latest crime figures.
At the recent meeting of the Joint Policing Meeting in Laois County Hall, Chief Superintendent John Scanlan revealed that from the last quarter of 2017 to the last quarter of 2018, drink driving is up 11.8% from 51 to 57.
Overall, road traffic offences are down 8.4%, from 285 to 261.
Intoxicated in charge of a vehicle is up 150% from two to five; fatal collisions are up 300% from none to three; collisions causing damage are down 20.5% from 205 to 163; collisions causing serious injury are up 7.4% from 27 to 29; and collisions causing serious injury are up 400% from none to four.
Commenting on the crime statistics, Brian Stanley TD said that a lot of people were driving at motorway speeds on local and regional roads. He told the meeting that he knew of someone who had returned to Ireland after some 13 years and they said they now feel frightened driving on our roads.
“There’s a huge number of people putting their feet to the floor,” he said, suggesting that perhaps speed vans could be deployed.
Chief Supt Scanlan said that he had been out at a checkpoint himself in Portlaoise one day, when the gardaí ran an operation which doubled the amount of detections.
He said the gardaí were looking at “critical lifesaver offences” such as people not wearing a seatbelt, or using their phone while driving.
“At another JPC meeting I was asked why we have so many checkpoints, so we’re damned when we do and damned when we don’t,” he said.
He also said that we are currently seeing the lowest number of fatalities on the roads in the last 40 years.
“In the 70s we were killing a horrendous number of people on the road,” he said.