Convictions for speeding are falling dramatically, with significant reductions also in the number of people convicted for driving while using a mobile phone, new figures show. However, parallel to this has been an equally significant rise in convictions for drink driving, according to Courts Service data.
Figures for convictions this year appear to indicate that the trends in the offences are continuing. The figures were provided by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan in reply to a number of parliamentary questions.
Meath West TD Peadar Tóbín, who asked questions on speeding and drink driving statistics, described as “alarming” the dramatic reduction in speeding convictions.
The figures show that:
Convictions for people driving while using a mobile phone, supplied to Louth TD Fergus O’Dowd, show a 15% reduction, from 1,887 drivers in 2016 to 1,598 in 2018. There have been 693 convictions to June this year, again indicating a continuing downward trend.
Mr Flanagan also provided Courts Service figures on drink-driving convictions, which increased by 34%, from 2,920 convictions in 2016 to 3,911 convictions in 2018. There have been 1,808 convictions to June this year, indicating the trend is continuing.
“Alarmingly, though drink-driving convictions are rising, figures reveal that speeding convictions have fallen dramatically,” said Mr Tobin, leader of the Aontú party.
He said the figure for speeding “plummeted” between 2017 and 2018.
“Drink-driving convictions have been rising year-on-year — from 2,920 in 2016 to 2,911 in 2018 with 1,808 people already convicted this year. This may reflect an increase in policing or a negative change in drink-driving due to a crash in policing in this area over the last decade.”
Mr Tobin said the Garda traffic corps numbers have “fallen significantly”, from 1,046 in 2009 to just 623 in 2017.
When contacted, the Road Safety Authority said it has no comment to make. A spokesman for the Department of Justice said it has nothing further to add to the PQ replies. There was no response from An Garda Síochána.
Court districts where speeding convictions fell dramatically between 2017 and 2018 include: Bandon (37 to eight); Midleton (47 to 14); Mallow (75 to 26) and Killarney (51 to 18).
The fall in speeding convictions was very high in Dublin, with a 42% drop between 2017 and 2018 (from 2,193 to 1,282). The strength of Roads Policing stood at 743 at the end of last year. Some 200 gardaí are due to be allocated in 2019 with a target of 1,035 by the end of 2021.