Shane Ross says Government may have to consider 'dramatic ways' of tackling drink driving

2016 saw a 15% rise in the number of deaths on our roads

Shane Ross says Government may have to consider 'dramatic ways' of tackling drink driving

Shane Ross speaking at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin | Image: Rollingnews.ie

New laws to clamp down on drink-driving could be on the cards, according to the Transport Minister.

Shane Ross believes 'dramatic ways' of tackling the issue could be needed, like changing penalties and offence times, because it's a 'huge problem'.

Speaking in an interview with The Irish Examiner, he described the spike in road deaths last year as 'calamitous'.

Minister Ross told the paper: “The spike in road deaths is calamitous and completely against what was expected. It is inexplicable except in terms of speed, drink, mobile usage, safety belts.

“If drunk driving continues we will have to look at dramatic ways to tackling it, including changing the offences, changing the penalties, the offence times, because drunk driving has been resurrected as huge problem,” he added.

187 people died on Irish roads last year - 25 more than in 2015.

Speaking about the Road Safety Authority's provisional 2016 statistics, Moyagh Murdock - RSA Chief Executive - suggested: "Arrest figures for the last six weeks of the Garda Christmas and New Year crackdown show that the attitudes and behaviour of a small number in our society hasn’t changed significantly. Their behaviour continues to have a disproportionate impact on road safety."