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Drink driving can cause ‘devastating loss of life’ as Gardai and RSA launch festive safety message

Motorists urged to act responsibly and to not be tempted to drink and drive this Christmas and New Year period

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Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have launched the Christmas anti drink driving campaign, calling on drivers to be aware of the “devastating loss of life and serious injuries it can cause.”

Gardai are appealing to motorists to act responsibly and to not be tempted to drink and drive this Christmas and New Year period.

Research published by the RSA and An Garda Síochána at the launch showed that over the last five years there were 83 fatalities and 709 serious injuries across the country the festive period.

This means that an average of 17 people die and 142* are seriously injured each year at this time. Almost seven out of ten fatalities were male, while almost two thirds of serious injuries were male. The time period 4pm to 8pm was highlighted as the highest risk for fatalities.

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Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority said: “Christmas is meant to be one of the happiest times of the year where loved ones gather and memories are made. Unfortunately, every Christmas we see the devastating impact drink-driving has on families. They are reminded of the heart-breaking reality of drink driving every day of the year, but particularly at Christmas by the empty chair at the dinner table where a loved one should be sitting. Drink-driving is a choice it doesn’t happen by accident. Your choice to drink and drive could have lasting consequence. At best you could lose your licence at worst you could be responsible for someone’s death or serious injury, leaving families devastated. Look, its simply not worth the risk. So, make the right choice for you, your family and friends this Christmas and every day and never, ever drink and drive.”

Deputy Commissioner, Ann Marie McMahon, An Garda Síochána said: “This weekend marks the start of the six week Christmas and New Year road safety enforcement campaign by An Garda Síochána. An Garda Síochána will be conducting Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country, to detect irresponsible drivers who drive under the  influence of either alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. We will also be targeting other lifesaver offences including speeding, not wearing seat belts and mobile phone use by drivers. 

Deputy Commissioner McMahon continued, “Unfortunately drink driving is still a problem on Irish roads. 4,453 drivers have been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and 3,333 have been arrested for drug driving this year to date. This is almost 166 drivers arrested each week for these offences. This Christmas and New Year, we are appealing to motorists to drive safely and under no circumstances drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 120 people have lost their lives on the roads this year and members of An Garda Síochána have had to deliver this devastating news to their families. We don’t want to have to deliver this news to your family this Christmas.”

Warning of the danger of drink driving the morning after Mr. Sam Waide, CEO, Road Safety Authority said: “The morning after is a real danger zone for drink driving. A previous analysis of Garda Síochána Investigation Files for fatal collisions, by the RSA, shows that 11% of fatal collisions, in which a driver had  consumed alcohol, occurred between 7am and 11am. Our own research also shows that one in four drivers admit to driving over the limit the morning afterϮ. There is no hard and fast rule about when it is safe to drive the morning after if you have been drinking the previous night. But motorists should allow at least one hour per standard drink for the alcohol to clear their system.”


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