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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 93, 98-101 - Garda operations. [9604/17, 9600/17, 9601/17, 9602/17, 9605/17]. [Drink and drug driving].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answers 93, 98-101 - Garda operations. [9604/17, 9600/17, 9601/17, 9602/17, 9605/17]. [Drink and drug driving]. (28 Feb 2017)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/ga/debates/question/2017...


93. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on the way mandatory intoxication testing, MIT, checkpoints will be administered and monitored in view of the current review of mandatory alcohol testing, MAT, checkpoints; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9604/17]

 

98. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality  the number of mandatory alcohol testing checkpoint tests carried out monthly in 2016; the number of disposable mouthpieces ordered by An Garda Síochána to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in 2016, indicating monthly order figures if possible; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9600/17]

 

99. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of mandatory alcohol testing checkpoint tests carried out in each of the years 2009 to 2015, by county; the number of disposable mouthpieces ordered by An Garda Síochána to the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in each of the years from 2009 to 2015, by county; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9601/17]

 

100. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the extent of the audit of MATs; the year the audit will begin; the expected timeframe of the audit; the districts that will be audited; the person or body completing the audit; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9602/17]

 

101. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will report on the statistics on the garda.ie website (details supplied); her views on these figures, which are being audited; the actions she is taking to address these reductions; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9605/17]

 

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 98 to 101, inclusive, together.

 

I am informed by An Garda Síochána that a National Audit commenced in June 2016 into all the data recorded on the Garda PULSE system relating to the number of roadside breath tests conducted at Mandatory Alcohol Testing Checkpoints (MAT Checkpoints). This Audit covered the period 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2016 and includes the statistics currently available on the Garda website (www.garda.ie) and it is anticipated that this National Audit will conclude in the second quarter of 2017.

 

The Garda authorities have also assured me that no issues stem from this audit with regard to the performance of MAT checkpoints or prosecutions emanating therefrom.

 

The Road Traffic Act 2016 (the 2016 Act) was enacted on 27 December 2016 but has not yet been commenced. The Deputy will be aware that road traffic legislation is the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Shane Ross, T.D. I am, however, informed that the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is working with key stakeholders to introduce the new roadside tests for drugs, which will be known as preliminary drug tests. It is intended that the provisions will be commenced at the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. This will allow time for all stakeholders to prepare for introduction, and will provide a valuable opportunity to highlight the dangers of drug driving over the Bank Holiday weekend.

 

I look forward to the introduction of the preliminary drug tests and am confident that these new road traffic enforcement measures will impact positively on road safety.

 

The Deputy will be aware that I have no direct role in the enforcement of Road Traffic legislation, including the conduct of MAT checkpoints, which is an operational matter for the Garda Commissioner. I am informed that road traffic legislation is enforced as part of the day to day duties of members of An Garda Síochána as well as through a programme of high visibility road safety and enforcement operations, carried out in partnership with other state agencies. Garda operations specifically target road use behaviour known to contribute significantly to collisions, including driving while intoxicated, as well as speeding and use of a mobile phone.

 

By working together with the Road Safety Authority and other agencies, An Garda Síochána will continue to confront dangerous road-user behaviour through public presence, legislative enforcement, education and partnership. Both targeted operations and general methods of enforcement have a valuable role to play in An Garda Síochána's enforcement programme, which targets locations with a view to preventing the commission of offences, detecting errant motorists, changing their behaviour and ultimately reducing death and injuries on our roads.

 

In January, An Garda Síochána indicated that there will be an additional 10% increase in the traffic corps during the course of 2017, which should also lead to better outcomes in relation to road traffic enforcement. An Garda Síochána also indicated that it was intended to have a stronger focus on road traffic enforcement in the training provided to new recruits at Templemore.

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