Huge Increase In ‘Drug Driving’ Detections So Far This Year

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THERE has been an over 200% increase in the amount of people caught driving under the influence of drugs in the first nine months of this year compared to the same period of 2018.

This was revealed at the latest meeting of the Joint Policing Committee meeting held at Kerry Country Council buildings at Rathass on Friday morning.

Kerry Chief Superintendent Eileen Foster addressed the meeting and gave the latest crime statistics for the Kerry area for Quarters 1-3 this year.

It was revealed that there were 235 people detected driving/in charge of a vehicle while over the legal alcohol limit or under the influence of drugs, a rise of 8% on the same period in 2018.

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Inspector Mike Fleming revealed that 53 persons were caught under the influence of drugs in the period up to October 26 this year compared to 17 in the same period in 2018, an increase of 211%.

Inspector Fleming said the rise in detections is also down to greater enforcement at checkpoints using a machine specially designed to check drivers for drug use.

He said the introduction of ‘SuperMIT’ checkpoints around Kerry in the past number of weeks has yielded results and it is hoped will act as a deterrent to drink and drug driving.

These checkpoints combine roads policing units with regular units of gardaí and they choose specific locations in towns and villages to set up large checkpoints to process a significant number of drivers. He also said speeding detections were up 33% on the same period last year.

In terms of Traffic Collisions, there were 1,119 ‘material damage only’ collisions (+5%), 107 ‘non-serious injury’ (-9%) and 25 ‘serious injury’ collisions (-37%). There were six road fatalities in the first nine months of 2019 — two drivers, two cyclists and two pedestrians.

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