Sunday 23 October 2016

Focus on 'morning after': Gardai to increase checkpoints

Published 26/11/2015 | 11:55

Some 150 drivers are arrested each week for driving under the influence
Some 150 drivers are arrested each week for driving under the influence

A NATIONAL Christmas drink-driving campaign will this year target 'Morning After' drivers.

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Gardai across the country will focus on stopping motorists, who may not realise they are still over the limit, the day after a festive celebration.

Chief Superintendent, Mark Curran, from the Garda National Traffic Bureau, said they will be increasing the number of mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints around the country over the next six weeks.

He said 'Morning After' drivers still remains a "danger zone".

A total of 12pc of all drink driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm.

"Of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11am and 2pm."

Speaking at the launch of its annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety campaign, he pointed out that Gardai can breath test any driver who has committed a road traffic offence.

"So for example, if you are detected driving in a bus lane, or using a mobile phone,  you can also be tested for the presence of alcohol.

"My message is don't do it - never, ever drink and drive.

"At best you risk losing your  license - at worst could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for someone's death or serious injury."

New figures reveal one-in-ten drivers have admitted drinking alcohol before driving over the past 12 months.

And almost 6,000 people were arrested on suspicion of drink driving from January to October this year.

The vast majority were male, and nearly half of those arrests, occurred on a Saturday or Sunday.

Of those over the limit, more than 50pc were between 20-39 years of age.

Furthermore, of those who admitted to driving under the influence, almost two out of five said they had consumed two or more drinks.

The incidence of alcohol consumption is much higher among males, those who drive for work, and those who have had a collision in recent years.

Transport Minister,  Paschal Donohoe, said more work needs to be done to completely eliminate the scourge of those getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

He cited the recent case of Gillian Teacy, whose four-year-old boy died after a drunk driver collided with her car, as a sobering example of the irrevocable damage this kind of behaviour can cause.

"I remind you of Gillian's heart-breaking victim impact statement.

"It must serve as a constant reminder of the very serious and devastating consequences of drink driving.

"It is a practice that must no loner be tolerated in our community."

Moyagh Murdock, RSA chief executive, stressed that any amount of alcohol impairs driving.

"This is not an option, it's a scientific fact.

"So if you are heading to an office party,  or socialising over the Christmas and New Year period, make sure you plan ahead.

"Leave the keys at home, and book a taxi, hackney, use public transport, or designate a driver."

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