Belfast Telegraph

Almost 20% increase in arrests for drink and drug driving

Gardai have warned they will be conducting checks over this St Patrick’s weekend.

Gardai will be out in force checking motorists for driving under the influence this St Patrick’s weekend (Niall Carson/PA Wire)
Gardai will be out in force checking motorists for driving under the influence this St Patrick’s weekend (Niall Carson/PA Wire)

More than 1,400 drivers have been arrested for driving under the influence of drink or drugs in the first two months of this year.

New figures issued by the Gardai and the Road Safety Authority showed there was a 17% increase in arrests for driving under the influence in January and February, compared with the same period last year.

A total of 1,429 drivers were arrested.

The Medical Bureau of Road Safety also reported an increase in the number of blood and urine specimens being sent for analysis this year.

The figures were released as Gardai warned they will be checking motorists for driving under the influence of drink and drugs over the St Patrick’s weekend.

Last year one person died and three others were seriously injured over the same weekend.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said some motorists continue to ignore warnings about the dangers of drink and drug driving.

He said penalties for drink driving at lower levels have increased since the introduction of the Road Traffic Amendment Act 2018 and apply at any time.

“Drink driving is drink driving whether it is at midnight or midday and any drink drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg now face losing their licence for three months,” he said.

“The aim of road safety legislation is to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads.”

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said: “If you are heading out this weekend please plan ahead. Make sure you know how you’re getting home, whether by taxi, with a designated driver or public transport.”

She also warned people not to walk home if they’re drunk.

“Almost half of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol,” she said.

“I’m also reminding drivers and passengers to wear seatbelts and to understand that there is a close link between drinking alcohol and the non-wearing of seatbelts in fatality statistics.”

To date, 34 people have been killed on Irish roads since the start of the year.

Press Association

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