Gardai will be 'out in force' testing for drink and drugs driving over St Patrick's weekend - RSA
17pc increase in number of drivers arrested for driving under the influence
Gardaí will be "out in force" over St Patrick's weekend as new figures show a 17pc increase in the number of people arrested for driving under the influence.
The Road Safety Authority said this weekend is traditionally a high risk period for alcohol and drug related crashes.
Four were killed and seriously injured on Irish roads on St Patrick's weekend last year.
Figures released from gardai show there has been an increase in the number of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in the first two months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.
To date 1,429 drivers have been arrested from 1 January to 28 February.
The Medical Bureau of Road Safety, which analyses the blood and urine specimens of drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence for the presence of alcohol and drugs, has also reported an increase in the number of specimens being sent for analysis to date this year.
Transport Minister Shane Ross condemned how some motorists continue to ignore the rules.
"Drink driving is drink driving whether it is at midnight or midday and any drink drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg now face losing their licence for three months.
"The aim of road safety legislation is to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads."
RSA CEO, Moyagh Murdock, cautioned people who are drinking at home and planning on driving the next day.
"You may be unknowingly consuming larger measures and therefore increasing the amount of time it will take to eliminate the alcohol from the body and be safe to drive. It takes the average person an hour to get rid of a single unit of alcohol from the body – that’s a half pint, small glass of wine or single measure of spirits."