Drink driving offences have increased by 60 per cent in the Granard Garda District.
The age old debate surrounding drink driving has resurfaced this week as new data revealed a 60 per cent rise in drink driving offences.
Elected members of Longford County Council's Joint Policing Committee (JPC) were told of the increase at a recent quarterly meeting.
The figures, which cover the Granard Garda District, revealed 16 motorists had been arrested on suspicion of drink driving during the first six months of the year.
This compares to just ten motorists who were suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol over the same period 12 months earlier.
Inspector Padraig Jones conceded the proliferation of drink driving cases was disconcerting but said the statistics were very much linked to driver behavioural patterns.
“Gardaí are out there and though there have been quite a number of detections we would like to see a reduction over the next 12 months,” he said.
So far, more than 60 people have died on the roads to date in 2017.
Inspector Jones said the Granard District had fortunately managed to avoid being included in the national figures.
“I am hesitant to say there have been no fatal incidents in Granard,” he said, prior to warning motorists over how hazardous Irish roads can be during the summer.
“June, July and August are the most dangerous months and we are heading into that dangerous period,” he said.
As such, Inspector Jones urged motorists to maintain additional care when at the wheel, to always wear seatbelts and to never drink and drive.
Cllr Martin Mulleady registered his “disappointment” at the figures, but praised gardaí for their continued efforts in trying to change driver attitudes through the regular usage of garda checkpoints.
The figures come as provisional research from the RSA showed alcohol was present in 30 per cent of road traffic collision fatalities in 2013 and 2014.
The findings also show that 55 per cent of all fatalities with a positive toxicology for alcohol were male driver/motorcyclist deaths.