Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Questions (561)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

561. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has received a breakdown per month and by district of the Garda statistics on the number of drivers that were and were not breath-tested after their involvement in a serious road collision; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8419/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The most recent and full set of figures for 2013 in relation to the matter referred to, received by me from the Garda authorities, were set out in my response to the Deputy on 7 February, 2013 as set out below.

As I indicated in my response to the Deputy on 13 January, to be of assistance, I have sought and received a full year set of figures for 2012 insofar as the Deputy's query is concerned.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that between 1 January, 2012 and 31 December, 2012, there were 208 drivers recorded as being involved in a fatal collision and 403 in a serious injury collision. The following table illustrates the number of drivers who provided a preliminary breath sample at the scene of a fatal or serious injury collision during that period.

-

Fatal Collision

Serious Injury Collision

Total no. drivers

208

403

Total no. drivers provided a preliminary breath sample at collision scene

80

144

I am further informed that analysis of incidents recorded show that 128 drivers involved in a fatal collision and 259 drivers involved in a serious injury collision were not tested at the roadside for a number of reasons. The following table sets out the reasons a preliminary breath sample was not taken at the roadside at the scene of a fatal or serious injury during the period 1 January, 2012 and 31 December, 2012.

Reason preliminary breath sample not taken at roadside

Fatal Collision

Serious Injury Collision

Driver deceased

74

-

Driver taken to hospital

35

136

Garda opinion - testing not required

9

52

Medical grounds

4

36

Insufficient time / Collision reported at Garda station

2

5

Serious injury of driver

1

12

Hit and run collision

1

6

Gardaí unable to ascertain driver identity

1

0

Sample to be taken at hospital

1

4

Sample to be taken at Garda station

0

3

No screening device available within allowed time (1 hour)

0

3

Scene of collision not a public place

0

1

Collision not investigated at scene

0

1

Total no. drivers who did not provide a preliminary breath sample at collision scene

128

259

I am advised that in respect of those drivers recorded as being involved in a fatal collision who were not tested at the scene of the collision, 14 drivers subsequently provided a blood/urine sample at the hospital and 3 drivers subsequently provided a sample at a Garda station. In total, 93 drivers are recorded as being tested either at the roadside, hospital, or Garda station.

I am also advised that in respect of those drivers recorded as being involved in a serious injury collision that were not tested at the scene of the collision, 48 drivers subsequently provided a blood/urine sample at the hospital and 10 drivers subsequently provided a sample at a Garda station. In total, 200 drivers were recorded as being tested either at the roadside, hospital or Garda station.

I am further advised by the Garda authorities that each collision can have a very contrasting set of circumstances and the preservation of life is paramount. In that regard, instructions have been issued to members of an Garda Síochána emphasising the mandatory requirement to breath test drivers at the scene of both fatal and serious injury collisions taking into account the particular circumstances arising in incidents of serious injury. I can also inform the Deputy that my colleague the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport and I have since received assurances from the Garda authorities that every effort is being made to ensure the relevant legislative provisions are fully complied with. These measures include communication with all Garda members through a series of instructions and Directives from Garda Headquarters as well as Monthly Tactical Assessments by Garda management on the level of compliance.