33 arrests for drink-driving

Inspector Tony Sugrue
Inspector Tony Sugrue

Sinead Kelleher

There were just three arrests involving drivers suspected of being under the influence the day after a night out during the Christmas period in Kerry.

This low number reflects the message getting out to people not to drive the morning after a night out, according to Inspector Tony Sugrue of the Kerry Divisional Traffic Corp.

Figures released this week by Gardaí show that 33 arrests for driving with excess alcohol were made during the entire month of December. Two of those arrested were later found not to be over the legal limit.

The figure, though, is an increase on previous years, with 28 arrests made in December 2017 and 20 during the same month 2016.

“The statistics are going the wrong way,” said Inspector Tony Sugrue.

Most of the drivers detected were under 30 years of age, which is a startling statistic, gardaí said.

“It is young people that are drinking and driving. We are disappointed with the response of young drivers,” added Inspector Sugrue.

Among the youngest drivers detected driving with excess alcohol were a 17-year-old and an 18-year-old.

The majority of the 33 arrests were in the Tralee District, followed by Listowel and Killarney Districts, and most took place in the main towns in the county rather than rural areas, as some might expect.

In total, 209 mandatory checkpoints took place during the month of December, but in total more than 500 checkpoints were undertaken by gardaí.

A total of 729 drivers returned negative results during the mandatory checkpoints, and four tested positive for either alcohol or drugs. The remainder of the 33 arrests were made by gardaí at other checkpoints or during routine patrols. Gardaí were also alerted by members of the public about drink-driving incidents.

The majority of drivers caught driving with excess alcohol were detected between the hours of 2am and 4am, with only three detected in later morning hours.

“The message is getting out about taking care the morning after a night out and giving your system a chance, which is reflected in our numbers.” Inspector Sugrue said.

He added that drug-driving is on the increase and will be a focus for gardaí going forward, as well as drink-driving.

Figures from the Kerry Divisional Traffic Corp also show that while road deaths decreased in Kerry, there has been a 100 per cent increase in serious road injuries, a “massive concern” for 2019, Inspector Sugrue said. Four people died on Kerry roads last year, which is one of the best records in 30 years, but the increase in serious injuries in road accidents is an issue that must be tackled, he said.