It was found that the number of police officers deployed on the streets fell by 19 between June and August.
This year, 136 people died on the roads, and the data shows that the highest number of fatalities was recorded in Tipperary – 14, Galway – 12, followed by Mayo – 11 and Cork – 10.
The latest figures were provided by the Justice Minister in response to parliamentary questions from Aontu leader Peter Tobin and Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy.
Mr Tobin said the reduction was “incredible” and follows a trend of significant declines in the number of police officers on the street over the past decade.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said: “Right now we have the lowest number of gardaí policing the roads that we’ve had since 2009. Even lower than the austerity years, back when Templemore was closed. And there’s a direct correlation between the number of gardaí policing the roads and the number of accidents that we have in this country. There’s no doubt about that,” reports RTE.
Road safety authorities have warned that 192 people will die on the roads by the end of the year if current trends in fatal accidents continue.
Sam Wide, chief executive of the RSA, will tell the Oireachtas Transport Committee this afternoon that 136 people have died on the roads so far this year, an increase of 26 in the same period in 2022.
Besides, 850 people were seriously injured in road accidents this year.
Denis Cusack, Director of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety said: “Drug analyses results in 2022 from the 3,793 samples show 2,828 were found to be positive for at least one drug on screening, the first stage of analysis (cannabis, 1,979; cocaine 1,080 and benzodiazepines 509). The most frequently confirmed drugs on the second stage of analysis and certified by statutory certificate were cannabis (1,949); cocaine (889); opiates (214); and benzodiazepines (101). The drug patterns have continued into 2023 and those drugs continue to be the most prevalent drugs in driving under the influence of drugs,” reports RTE.
The Minister of Justice allocated an additional 1.2 million euros for mobile speed cameras in the last quarter of the year to increase the focus on speeding.
Deputy Commissioner Hillman argues for greater use of average speed cameras because the compliance rate where they are deployed is 97%.
“There is an opportunity for wider use of technology both in terms of road safety and traffic management such as the management of bus lanes and compliance with traffic signs, and this is in the Road Safety Strategy. An Garda Síochána awaits the introduction of legislation that will allow us to further modernise. Enforcement alone will not deliver the transformation that is required and equally road engineering and design are vital as are the continued education programmes and transformational policy and investment. Engineering, education and enforcement with significant advancements in technology in the use of safety cameras are collaboratively required,” reports RTE.
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