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Drink-driving crackdown as 1,545 stopped

MORE than 1,500 cars were stopped in a crackdown on drink-driving in Dublin as gardai sought to send a "very strong message" to motorists.

Officers set up late-night checkpoints in locations in Howth and Stillorgan as part of Operation Artery.

"During the operation, 1,545 vehicles were stopped," a spokesman told the Herald. "A total of 560 drivers were breath-tested and five drivers arrested (four male and one female).

TARGET

"There were 10 general detections for road traffic offences and one was vehicle seized."

The spokesman said that the emphasis of Saturday night's operation was to target several specific locations with checkpoints running for one hour from 11.30pm to 12.30am.

Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, of the Garda National Traffic Bureau, added: "We ran a series of highly visible checkpoints across targeting specific locations in Stillorgan and on the Howth peninsula.

"I would like to thank motorists for their cooperation during these checkpoints and, as the figures show, the vast majority of people tested were compliant with the legislation.

"I want to also send a very strong message to all drivers and remind them that members of An Garda Siochana are out all around the country, day and night, targeting intoxicated driving. The message is clear – never ever drink and drive."

Some 18 vehicles and more than 60 garda personnel were involved in the operation.

The details were revealed as it emerged gardai would be given powers to carry out US-style roadside tests.

As part of the new regime, motorists could be asked to walk in a straight line, stand on one leg or touch their nose.

HITCH

While the measures were to be introduced three years ago, a legal hitch blocked them.

But now Transport Minister Leo Varadkar is set to introduce legislation to get around the difficulty.

The law will also allow gardai to form a reasonable opinion as to whether a not a motorist is under the influence of drugs.

Suspects could then be brought to the station for a blood or urine test.

comurphy@herald.ie


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