Less than half of drivers involved in a fatal car accident in the second half of last year underwent a breath test for alcohol – despite laws which make such tests mandatory.
Figures compiled by the Department of Justice show there were 107 drivers involved in fatal road accidents in the second half of last year – but only 45 of those drivers underwent the test.
The 62 cases where drivers were not tested included two where Gardai believed alcohol had not been a contributory factor to the accident. In the other 60 cases, reasons for breathalysers not being administered included that the driver had been already been hospitalised or fatally injured.
Laws which came into effect in June 2011 – and which were subsequently augmented in October – required Gardaí to administer compulsory breath tests to anyone involved in a serious accident, unless they were already to be arrested anyway.
Figures also show that of the 213 drivers involved in a serious collision, 113 drivers could not be tested, for reasons including their hospitalisation, the arrest of the driver, or there being insufficient time to carry it out.
24 drivers were not subjected to tests as Gardaí believed alcohol intake had not been a factor.
The figures were compiled in response to a parliamentary question from the independent former Labour TD, Tommy Broughan.
Transport minister Leo Varadkar told RTÉ News that the figures were something he would discuss with the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, and the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.
He added that it was important that laws passed by the Oireachtas were enforced.
Source: The Journal, 05/08/2012