Belfast Telegraph

Don't drive on St Patrick's Day, police warn revellers in Northern Ireland

The PSNI have warned drivers to leave their cars at home when celebrating this St Patrick's Day.

Police revealed that they arrested 31 people in connection with alcohol and drug impaired driving on 17 and 18 March last year.

With a series of planned initiatives organised in the run-up to bank holidays, public holidays and high profile sporting events, police urged all road users to take extra care on the road this weekend.

Inspector Rosie Leech said just one drink could have devastating effects.

“With St Patrick’s Day celebrations, cultural events, rugby and football matches all happening this weekend, I am sure many people have planned trips with family and friends, and some of these events will no doubt be enjoyed over a few drinks," she said.

“Our message to drivers and riders is very simple; Never EVER drink and drive. Just one drink can impair your decision making. Just one drink can cause a collision. Just one drink could kill.”

“Across the country, road policing officers, local and neighbourhood policing teams and our TSG colleagues will again be setting up vehicle checkpoints and carrying out random breath tests as very visible, physical deterrent. We are determined to catch those people who take life-threatening, unacceptable, and stupid risks."

The drunk and drug-driving arrest figures greatly increased around St Patrick's Day last year.

“On a typical Friday or Saturday night, we can detect between 12 and 24 people over the two days for drink and drug driving offences. However, over the 17th and 18th of March in 2017, we detected 31 people, up from 20 people for the same period in 2016," Inspector Leech said.

“Never take the risk. The consequence of taking just one drink can be catastrophic. If you’re out drinking this weekend, plan how you’re going to get home. Have a designated driver, book a taxi, use public transport and please be careful if you’re planning on walking home.

“In addition to our checkpoints, any driver or motorcyclist we stop, whether for speeding, using a mobile phone, or committing any moving traffic offence can expect to be breathalysed. So too can anyone involved in a collision or who we suspect may have consumed alcohol or taken drugs.

“Our aim with this operation is to keep people safe, but we all need to exercise caution and put road safety first. Road users need to make extra effort to look out for pedestrians and cyclists, particularly along rural roads.  Pedestrians and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands where possible to ensure they can be seen, and cyclists must use good quality front and rear lights.

“If everyone slowed down, did not drive after drinking or taking drugs, wore a seatbelt and drove with greater care and attention then together we can save lives on our roads.”



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