55% of drivers in serious crashes were not tested for alcohol

Fri, Aug 3, 2012, 01:00

MORE THAN half of drivers involved in serious crashes in the second half of 2012 did not have their alcohol levels tested, figures released yesterday have shown.

This is despite the introduction last June of a measure making breath tests at the scene of a crash mandetory in cases where someone was injured and required medical attention.

Fifty-five per cent of the 320 drivers invovled in fatal or serious-injury crashes last year could not be tested, according to figures released by the Department of Justice in a parliamentary question to Labour TD Tommy Broughan.

Of the 107 drivers involved in fatal road crashes between July and December last year, 62 could not be tested.

Among the reasons they could not be tested were that the driver was removed to hospital or fatally injured in the collision or that the driver was unknown.

Two drivers were not tested because a Garda formed the opinion that alcohol was not a contributory factor to the collision.

Of the 213 drivers involved in serious collisions leading to injury last year, 113 could not be tested.

Among the reasons they could not be tested were that the driver was unknown or removed to hospital, there was insufficient time to conduct the test or the driver was arrested. More than 10 per cent of drivers (24) were not tested because a Garda formed the opinion that alcohol was not a contributory factor to the collision.

“I am concerned that the law perhaps is not being enforced fully and that’s something I’m going to have to discuss with the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice,” Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar told RTÉ yesterday.

“We want to see everybody tested at the scene of a crash where somebody’s injured unless there’s a medical reason for not doing it,” Dr Declan Bedford of the Irish Medical Organisation told RTÉ news.

Susan Gray of road safety group Parc said she was “totally shocked and really angry” the law was not being enforced.