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Drink drivers facing holiday blitz by gardai

ALMOST 3,000 drivers a week are being breathalysed in Dublin -- and a "major crackdown" is promised for the bank holiday weekend.

The officer in charge of traffic in the city has warned that his units will be focusing on drink driving as a mass exodus from the city is predicted over coming days.

Garda Supt Declan Brogan, who is in charge of the Dublin Traffic Unit, told the Herald that 60,000 people have been breathalysed in Dublin so far this year.

This averages out at around 2,800 breath tests a week.

Supt Brogan said that extra checkpoints would be operating this weekend.

"There will be a significant number of checkpoints over the bank holiday weekend with a particular emphasis on mandatory breath-testing," he said.

"These checks will begin on Friday and will last until next Tuesday morning.

"Our aim is to combat alcohol and speed -- the two main contributors to road fatalities.

"We would also appeal to young people who may be travelling as passengers in cars not to travel with people they know to have been drinking or in overloaded vehicles."

Although fatalities in the city are down on previous years, the number of pedestrians who have died in the capital has gardai very concerned.

"There have been 10 fatalities on Dublin roads so far this year, which is three down on the figures for the same period last year and two down on 2008," he added.

"The fatalities include five pedestrians, four drivers and one motorcyclist.

"We are urging pedestrians to be particularly vigilant, given the high proportion of pedestrian deaths in the city.

"We would appeal to pedestrians to wear bright clothing and to stay alert."