Over 900 arrested for drunk driving and drugs over Christmas

More than 900 people have been arrested for drunk driving on Irish roads over the Christmas period.

Between November 26 and January 4, gardaí ran its Christmas and New Year road safety campaign which saw 5,681 checkpoints carried out across the country.

The campaign focused primarily on testing for drink-driving and 914 people were arrested.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said about 1 in 5 drug-driving arrests (21%) occurred between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m.

On New Year’s Day, 35 such arrests were made, 12 of them during the morning.

Sadly, 19 people lost their lives on Irish roads over the festive period, compared to just 10 during the same period the previous year.

This brings the total death toll on Irish roads to 134 last year, up from 146 in 2020.

15,759 breath tests were carried out by the gardaí between November 26 and January 4, resulting in 914 drunk driving arrests.

Assistant Commissioner Hilman said: ‘These ongoing detections demonstrate that some road users continue to ignore road safety advice, putting themselves and other road users at risk’

The campaign also focused on a number of other road safety offences, including speeding, improper seat belt use, mobile phone use while driving and unaccompanied learner drivers.

  • 13,950 speeding detections
  • 15,759 breath tests performed
  • 1,269 fines imposed for using mobile phones
  • 310 fines imposed for not wearing seat belts
  • 525 fines imposed on learner drivers driving unaccompanied

Sam Waide, chief executive of RSA, said it was “amazing to see the number of people who persist in driving while intoxicated and on drugs, as it greatly increases the risk of a fatal collision.

“Inappropriate speed is always a problem and even a 5% reduction in average speed can reduce fatal collisions by 30%.

“It is alarming to think that 28% of all drivers and passengers killed in 2021 in Ireland were not wearing seat belts. These behaviors lead to death and serious injury on our roads,” Mr Waide added.

Assistant Commissioner Hilman concluded: “As we enter 2022, our hearts go out to the families of the 134 people who lost their lives on our roads in 2021.

“An Garda Síochána is committed to reducing fatalities on our roads in 2022 and asks all road users to make this their priority as well.”

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