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30 Nov 2021

Life-changing impact of drink driving at Christmas and New Year

Almost 4,500 drivers arrested for drink driving to date in 2021

Concerns raised over 60 per cent rise in drink driving offences across Granard Garda District

One in four drivers admit to driving over the limit the morning after. File picture

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have called on drivers to act responsibly and to not be tempted to drink and drive this Christmas and New Year period.

This year’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal was launched at An Garda Síochána Headquarters in Dublin and focuses on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and the devastating loss of life and serious injuries it can cause.

Research published by the RSA and An Garda Síochána at the launch showed that over the last five years there were 83 fatalities and 709 serious injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.

This means that an average of 17 people die and 142 are seriously injured each year at this time.

Almost seven out of ten fatalities were male, while almost two thirds of serious injuries were male.

The time period 4pm to 8pm was highlighted as the highest risk for fatalities. Serious injuries tended to occur predominantly late afternoon/evening, with over half (51%) occurring from 12pm through to 8pm.

Deputy Commissioner, Ann Marie McMahon, An Garda Síochána said: “This weekend marks the start of the six week Christmas and New Year road safety enforcement campaign by An Garda Síochána. An Garda Síochána will be conducting Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country, to detect irresponsible drivers who drive under the influence of either alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.

“We will also be targeting other lifesaver offences including speeding, not wearing seat belts and mobile phone use by drivers. Members of An Garda Síochána will also focus on unaccompanied driving by learner drivers.”

Deputy Commissioner McMahon continued, “Unfortunately drink driving is still a problem on Irish roads. 4,453 drivers have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and 3,333 have been arrested for drug driving this year to date. This is almost 166 drivers arrested each week for these offences.

"This Christmas and New Year, we are appealing to motorists to drive safely and under no circumstances drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 120 people have lost their lives on the roads this year and members of An Garda Síochána have had to deliver this devastating news to their families. We don’t want to have to deliver this news to your family this Christmas.”

Drivers are also being reminded that the Coca Cola Designated driver campaign is running again this year. The scheme offers free soft drinks and water to anyone acting as a designated driver on a night out with friends or family.

The HSE has a useful website called askaboutalcohol.ie which is full of very valuable resources on the impact of alcohol on driving and drivers are encouraged to visit the site for more information on the subject.

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