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Thursday 28 August 2014

Gardai to clamp down on drink driving with random 24/7 checkpoints over Christmas

Published 11/12/2013 | 17:57

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12/02/2012
A Garda Checkpoint at Tallaght n81.
Photo Garrett White
Garda Traffic Corps will be increasing checkpoints nationwide

Gardai are set to increase the number of mandatory breath tests performed on drivers over the Christmas period.

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Random breath testing will be carried out on a 24/7 basis, gardai say, in an effort to tackle the issue of drink driving.

Speeding enforcement by the GoSafe safety camera vans will also increase to 7,375 hours of monitoring over the month of December.

 Some 677 people were arrested for drink driving last month, according to new garda figures.

And gardai are keen to catch any other law breakers over the festive period.

Assistant Commissioner John Twomey “Last month alone, 677 drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of an intoxicant.”

“In this day and age it is totally unacceptable that 677 people made that decision to drink and drive.”

He added: “The vast majority of fatal road traffic incidents are caused by human error, something that someone does or fails to do.”

 “The tragic fact is that 177 people won’t get the opportunity to sit down and enjoy the Christmas festivities with family and friends this year.”

So far this year, over 400,000 drivers have been breath tested.

“Whilst the vast majority are compliant and fit to drive, over 7,200 drivers didn’t heed our message,” the assistant commissioner said.

“We want everyone to enjoy the festive season, however to also remind people that An Garda Síochána will be out in force. The message simply is ‘never ever drink and drive.”

Meanwhile, gardai have already started handing out nearly 30,000 items of RSA high visibility materials to pedestrians and cyclists nationwide, as part of a road safety drive.

Within the Dublin Metropolitan Region, a total of 18 lives have been lost in fatal road traffic collisions this year  – which is an increase of eight on the same period last year.

Today, gardai set up a checkpoint on the M1 today to target a number of road traffic offences including impaired driving, speeding, lane discipline and breaches of the Road Traffic Act.

The main aim was to increase the awareness of fatal and serious injury road traffic collisions, a garda spokesperson said.

Commissioner Twomey added: "We specifically ask all pedestrians to make sure they are visible when out walking, especially in rural or poorly lit areas.”

“If out socialising, plan a safe way to get home and make sure you are fit to walk if you have consumed alcohol. Drivers also need to be extra vigilant and watch out for pedestrians”

Over the Christmas period, gardai will focus on  “key lifesaver offences” like driving under the influence, speeding, using mobile phones and failure to use seatbelts", he said.

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