Sunday 20 October 2019

County has highest road fatalities rate

By david looby

COUNTY Wexford has the highest number of road fatalities in the South East region and the latest road crime figures show that local drivers are being increasingly reckless on our roads with drunken driving and driving while on mobile phone offences way up.

Chief Superintendent John Roche said there were 950 people detected driving while holding a mobile phone between January and the end of September, up 42 per cent, (from 668), when compared with the same period last year.

203 people were arrested for drunken driving, up 13.5 per cent on last year. He said speeding offences are down slightly, as are drivning withuot a seat belt charges.

Supt Roche said: 'We are doing what we can with the resources we have. The figures are very bleak.'

Cllr Anthony Kelly expressed grave concern at the drunken driving figure, adding that people need to be aware of the carnage drunken driving can cause in people's lives.

Supt Roche said the problem of motorists using their mobile phone while driving goes beyond calls and text and now involves checking social media websites like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as this newspaper previously reported last year.

He said education s important, but stressed the need to change the law to empower Gardaí to seize mobile phones as they cannot do so under current legislation.

Supt Roche said: 'While legislation was brought in to assist us it did not go far enough as we can't seize the mobile phones. We can't prove if there was a text or if the driver was on Facebook or Instagram.'

He said thanks to an influx of Gardaí from Templemore the Garda traffic unit will have more members shortly to police these crimes.

Wexford People

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