Belfast Telegraph

Christmas drink-driving rates increase by 35%

Christmas drink-driving rates have soared by more than a third already this year, official figures suggest.

Gardai revealed that 341 motorists were caught behind the wheel while over the legal alcohol limit in the first two weeks of its annual seasonal crackdown.

The figure is a rise of 89 - or 35% - on the same period last year.

The significant increase comes despite a heavily-publicised anti-drink driving campaign launched by the gardai and the Road Safety Authority on December 1.

Garda assistant commissioner Michael Finn said it was obvious many drivers had taken no notice of it.

"This significant increase in detections show increased Garda activity but disappointingly shows there are some who still refuse to heed all the safety messages," he said.

However, he said the 89 "high risk" drivers had been taken off the road before a potential tragedy could have occurred.

There has also been a sharp rise of more than a fifth in the number of road deaths this year.

So far, 182 people have been killed in collisions around the country.

This is an increase of 34 - or 23% - on the same time last year.

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From Belfast Telegraph