Thursday 19 September 2019

Irish drink driver levels above European average in new operation

Cormac Fitzgerald

Irish drivers were more likely to be above the drink-driving limit than the European average, figures a new policing operation show.

One in 58 (1.7pc) of Irish drivers stopped between June 1-7 were found to be above the legal drinking limit.

The Europe-wide operation took place across 27 countries and was conducted by TISPOL, an international policing organisation dedicated to improving road safety across Europe. 

In total, the operation uncovered 16,656 drink-driving offences from just over 1.1m roadside breath tests.

Across all European countries, around one in 66 (or 1.5pc) of drivers tested were found to be over the legal limit. 

Chief Superintendent for the gardaí and president of TISPOL, Aidan Reid, said that the figures show that too many people still hits it’s okay to drink and drive.

“Any time a person gets behind the wheel after drinking alcohol is one time too many.

“These figures show that there are still people who think it’s acceptable to drink and drive.

“Our message is clear. Don’t do it," he said.

The operation also found 2,520 different offences in the cars they stopped, including 602 drug related crimes, 116 emigration or human trafficking crimes, and 49 crimes relating to firearms.

The rate of drink driving offences differed significantly across various countries in the EU, as did the amount of cars stopped. In France, about one in 33 cars stopped were found to be over the drink-driving limit; in the UK it was one in 15.

The most recent figures for Ireland show that there were 3,649 drink-driving offences in the the year to July. This is down from 3,883 in the same period last year.

Drink driving offences in Ireland have declined significantly in recent years and have more than halved since 2008.

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