Sunday 20 October 2019

Revealed: Gardai make 445 arrests on suspicion of drink driving in the last month

  • 218 arrests made in the last week
  • Majority occurred between 11pm and 4am
  • RSA appeals for drivers to 'act responsibly' this Christmas
A garda carrying out a breath test (Stock photo)
A garda carrying out a breath test (Stock photo)
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

Some 445 people have been arrested on suspicion of drink driving since November 30, according to gardai.

Of those, 218 occurred in the last week alone up until December 17.

The most common time period for the arrests was between 11pm and 4am, of which 205 of the arrests were made. 

A further 43 arrests occurred during the morning, between 9am and 12pm.

A spokesperson for the Road Safety Authority (RSA) told that the high number was "disappointing" to see following the launch of their annual Christmas campaign.

"It’s disappointing to see so many drivers failing to heed our Christmas and new year message. However it does clearly demonstrate that the gardai are out enforcing our drink driving laws," the spokesperson said.

"Drivers who are willing to take a very silly chance to drink drive are putting their own and the lives of others at risk. The safest option to take if planning to head out is to plan how you are going to get home. Also be aware of the dangers of drink driving the morning after."

In December 2017, a total of 812 people were arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated- and with numbers over the halfway mark so far this month, the figure could match the 2017 amount by the end of the month.

The RSA are appealing to drivers to “act responsibly” over the Christmas period.

According to the RSA, 11pc of fatal collisions in which a driver has consumed alcohol occur between 7am and 11am.

There have been eight fatalities on Irish roads this month so far, but there has been a slight decrease in yearly fatalities.

There have been 144 fatalities in 2018 to date, compared to 150 recorded in 2017 for the same period.

However, the total amount of collisions has risen by one to 137 collisions as of December 18.

Speaking at the launch of the annual Christmas and New Year appeal last month, Transport Minister Shane Ross urged drivers to take care this season because of the introduction of tighter laws.

RSA 4.jpg
RSA chairperson Liz O’Donnell, and Transport Minister Shane Ross at the launch of the 2018 Road Traffic Authority Christmas/New Year campaign. Photo: Colin O'Riordan

“I appeal to all those socialising over the Christmas and New Year period to do so responsibly and never, ever, drink and drive, including the morning after,” Mr Ross said.

“It’s simply not worth the risk now that new penalties have been introduced which mean drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg face losing their licence for three months. 

“So if you have done the right thing the night before, don’t forget to do the right thing and make alternative arrangements to travel the morning after.”

Under the new legislation introduced this summer, all drink drivers will receive an automatic three-month driving disqualification.

Previously, drivers who drove above the legal blood-alcohol limit were subject to receiving penalty points on their licences.

As part of their Christmas appeal, gardai will continue to carry out random mandatory intoxicant checkpoints around the country. 

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