Tuesday, 16 May 2006

Questions (384, 385)

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

445 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of cases in which proceedings commenced in respect of a drink driving offence in each of the years 1999-2005 inclusively with a breakdown for each of the years of cases based on blood, urine and breath samples; the typical reason for the delay in taking cases; the number of cases during this period where proceedings did not and will not ever be commenced; the typical reason for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18429/06]

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Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

446 Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the breakdown of the convictions for drink driving in respect of blood, urine and breath samples in each of the years 1999 to 2005. [18430/06]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 445 and 446 together.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the breakdown of cases where proceedings commenced under sections 49(2), 49(3) and 49(4) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961 in respect of blood, urine and breath samples in each of the years 2000 to 2005 is set out in the following table:

Year

Section 49(2) Blood

Section 49(3) Urine

Section 49(4) Breath

Total

2000*

291

167

295

753

2001*

2,270

1,233

3,747

7,250

2002

2,252

1,399

6,627

10,278

2003

2,130

1,365

5,726

9,221

2004

2,107

1,422

5,597

9,126

2005

1,574

1,063

6,635

9,272

The following table sets out the breakdown of convictions to date under sections 49(2), 49(3), and 49(4) of the Road Traffic Act, 1961 in respect of blood, urine and breath samples in each of the years 2000 to 2005:

Year

Section 49(2) Blood

Section 49(3) Urine

Section 49(4) Breath

Total

2000*

233

131

229

593

2001*

1,604

870

2,208

4,682

2002

1,498

938

3,580

6,016

2003

1,331

865

3,175

5,371

2004

1,260

805

3,477

5,542

2005

691

443

3,886

5,020

*The figures provided for 2000 and 2001 are incomplete due to the phased implementation of PULSE. The first full year captured is 2002.

Proceedings may commence in a year subsequent to the year of arrest and are not necessarily commenced and concluded in the same year.

I have also been informed by the Garda authorities that there is no undue delay in instituting proceedings where the blood, urine and breath level exceeds the legal limit.

In cases where the certificate from the evidential breath testing instrument indicates the breath alcohol concentration exceeds the legal limit, it is the policy of An Garda Síochána to charge the person concerned.

In the case of blood and urine, specimen analysis is carried out by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety and, on receipt of a certificate from the Bureau indicating blood or urine concentration exceeding the legal limit, an appropriate summons is applied for to bring the case before the Courts.

Proceedings are not commenced for drink driving primarily because the blood, urine or breath alcohol concentration does not exceed the legal limit. Where a person fails or refuses to provide a blood, urine or breath specimen proceedings may be instituted for such failure or refusal and proceedings may not be commenced for drink driving.

I am also informed that records are not compiled in such a way as to indicate the number of cases where proceedings were not commenced and the amount of time it would take to compile such information could not be justified.