Shock rise in num­ber of young drink driv­ers

Fears raised over drink driv­ing aware­ness as wor­ry­ing trend ap­pears more en­trenched in 2017

The Kerryman (North Kerry) - - FRONT PAGE -

YOUNG peo­ple aged be­tween 21 and 30 ac­counted for the great­est num­ber of drink driv­ing of­fences in Kerry since Jan­uary, alarm­ing new fig­ures re­leased by gar­daí re­veal.

Gar­daí ex­pressed their deep con­cern over the trend, at a meet­ing of the Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee (JPC) held in Kil­lar­ney on Fri­day, as it ap­pears to be get­ting more en­trenched in the county.

Young peo­ple were once con­sid­ered the most at­ten­tive to the mes­sage on drink-driv­ing, but the mes­sage now seems al­most en­tirely lost on the age group. This was the se­cond time since May that a JPC meet­ing was in­formed of the wor­ry­ing rise in drink-driv­ing among the young by Kerry gar­daí.

Kerry Traf­fic Corps head, In­spec­tor Tony Su­grue, said it was one of the big­gest con­cerns for the force in the polic­ing of road traf­fic.

“The big con­cern is if we look at the break­down in the age you will see that three-quar­ters of de­tec­tions re­late to mo­torists un­der 50 years-of-age,” In­spec­tor Su­grue in­formed the JPC on Fri­day.

“I think the per­cep­tion was that it was the over 50s who were more likely to drink and drive, but it’s not, it’s un­der 50 and it’s drop­ping all the time,” he warned.

Nearly 30 per cent of all drink driv­ing of­fences (58 of 199) de­tected in Kerry be­tween the New Year and Au­gust 31 re­lated to mo­torists aged be­tween 21 and 30.

County coun­cil­lors on the JPC wel­comed an in­crease in garda check­points on the roads com­ing as part of a crack­down on road traf­fic of­fences.

THE age group 21 - 30 ac­counted for the sin­gle great­est de­mo­graphic caught drink driv­ing in Kerry be­tween Jan­uary and Au­gust 31 this year in a wor­ry­ing in­di­ca­tion that drink-driv­ing cam­paigns are be­ing ig­nored by young mo­torists.

This is the se­cond time this year that garda fig­ures have shown a marked in­crease in drink driv­ing of­fences among young mo­torists - an age group pre­vi­ously con­sid­ered the least likely to get be­hind the wheel of a car while un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.

“The big con­cern is if we look at the break­down in the age you will see that three-quar­ters of de­tec­tions re­late to mo­torists un­der 50 years of age,” Insp Tony Su­grue in­formed the Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee on Fri­day.

“I think the per­cep­tion was that it was the over 50s who were more likely to drink and drive, but it’s not, it’s un­der 50 and it’s drop­ping all the time,” he warned.

The over­all num­ber of drink-driv­ing cases re­mained com­par­a­tively sta­ble over the past 18 months. 199 were de­tected across Kerry be­tween Jan­uary 1 and Au­gust 31 this year, rep­re­sent­ing a 4 per cent rise on the same pe­riod last year when 191 were de­tected.

And in a break­down by age and sex of those caught driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol it is shown that 58 were be­tween the age of 21 and 30; 11 were aged be­tween 17 and 20; 49 aged be­tween 31 and 40; 36 were caught in the 41 to 50 bracket; 30 in the 51 - 60 age group; 11 in the 61 to 70 age group and six driv­ers be­tween the ages of 71 to 80 were de­tected driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol.

Men ac­count for the vast ma­jor­ity (over 86 per cent) of of­fend­ers.

Mean­while, drug driv­ing soared by 100 per cent, from sin­gle to dou­ble fig­ures. Five were de­tected last year, ten so far this year.

Some County Coun­cil­lors wel­comed the ap­par­ent ramp­ing-up of drink-driv­ing check­points in re­cent months.

Drink-driv­ing, speed­ing and mo­bile phone use will all be tar­geted in on­go­ing op­er­a­tions, gar­daí vowed. More check­points are be­ing car­ried out this year - by the or­der of 37 per cent as gar­daí clamp down on road traf­fic of­fences.

Insp Su­grue also pre­sented an over­view of traf­fic fa­tal­i­ties in the county, show­ing the risk was shared among all road users. Eight of the fa­tal­i­ties on Kerry roads over the last four years were driv­ers; six were pas­sen­gers in cars; five were mo­tor­cy­clists; eight were pedes­tri­ans and six were cy­clists.

It was shown that 52.4 per cent of fa­tal­i­ties oc­cur at weekends (a fifth of which oc­cur be­tween 4pm and 6pm); 64 per cent of all driv­ers in fa­tal in­ci­dents test pos­i­tive for in­tox­i­cants, mostly al­co­hol.

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