Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), wrote in today's Irish Independent about the increase in the number of deaths on Irish roads in the first half of 2016 (up 18% on last year). Of great concern to both the RSA and Drinkaware is the increase in drink driving and the high rate of alcohol-related crashes on our roads. Drink driving is unacceptable and avoidable. If you decide to drink alcohol this August Bank Holiday weekend, take some time to get the facts about alcohol and be safe.
Ms O’Donnell mentioned a recent RSA report which showed that between 2008 and 2012, of the 256 people who did in alcohol-related crashes, most of the drivers killed who had consumed alcohol were young males aged 16-24. It is important to remember that if you have been drinking you are unfit to get behind the wheel of a vehicle, even the following day. Don’t take the risk.
Here are three things to keep in mind if you plan to drink alcohol over the long weekend:
Drinking alcohol at any level can increase the risk of damage to your health but this risk increases the more you drink. Try to keep track of how many standard drinks you consume. One standard drink is a half pint of beer, stout or lager, small glass of wine (100ml) or a pub measure of spirits (35.5ml). With the humidity set to stick around for the long weekend, keep hydrated by alternating each alcoholic drink with water.
The Department of Health/HSE recommend that to reduce alcohol-related risks to your health and well-being, adhere to the low-risk guidelines for alcohol consumption:
This week, An Garda Siochana revealed that it had arrested 543 people on suspicion of drink driving since the beginning of July. 105 people have lost their lives on Irish roads to date in 2016. In the month of July alone, 18 lives have been lost to date.
The time of your last drink at night will affect when it is safe for you to drive the following day so there could still be alcohol in your system the morning after. It takes your body one hour to process one standard drink and there’s no quick fix. Nothing you can do will help to remove alcohol from your body any quicker, only time.
This weekend, plan ahead and arrange an alternative way to travel the next morning. Never EVER drink and drive.
Alcohol affects your perception of danger, making you more likely to take unnecessary risks. Alcohol also impairs your balance and coordination - all essential for swimming and boating and avoiding hazards in the water. Irish Water Safety say that alcohol is a factor in one third of all adult deaths in the water and warn that drownings can occur very quickly and silently, so swimming in quiet isolated area can be risky. Never swim if you have consumed alcohol and be vigilant around open waters.