284,000 drivers, or 1 in 10, have admitted to consuming alcohol before driving in the past 12 months, according to a survey of driver attitudes conducted on behalf of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The shocking figures were revealed at the launch of the annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign on Thursday, 26th November 2015.
Furthermore, of those who admitted to drink driving, almost 2 out of 5 said they had consumed two or more drinks. The research shows that the incidence of alcohol consumption is much higher among males, those who drive for work and those who have had a collision/near miss in recent years. They are also likely to be high speeding and rule violators.
Preliminary enforcement figures released by An Garda Síochána also highlight the extent of the drink driving problem in Ireland as almost 6,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving whilst intoxicated for the period January–October 2015. The vast majority of the arrests were male and nearly half of those arrests occurred on a Saturday or Sunday. Of those over the limit, more than half were between 20-39 years of age.
Speaking at the launch of the annual festive road safety campaign, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe said:
“While the number of people admitting to drink driving is shocking it is important to acknowledge that the vast majority of people in our society choose not to drink and drive. However we still have much to do to completely eliminate the scourge of drink driving from our community. For anyone contemplating getting into the car after consuming alcohol I want to remind you of Gillian Treacy’s heart-breaking victim impact statement. Gillian’s description of the crash which resulted in the death of her four year old son Ciaran, must serve as a constant reminder of the very serious and devastating consequences of drink driving. It is a behaviour that must no longer be tolerated in our community.”
Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority warned drivers of the dangers of drink driving the morning after:
“Drink driving at any time of the day is drink driving, that’s why you must take extra care the following morning if you have been drinking the night before, as you may still have alcohol in your system. It roughly takes you about one hour for your body to get rid of one unit of alcohol, that’s a half pint or standard glass of wine. If you got to bed in the early hours and didn’t get a good night’s sleep, this will magnify the impairing effects of any alcohol in your system.”
Chief Superintendent Mark Curran, Garda National Traffic Bureau, An Garda Síochána said:
“An Garda Síochána will be increasing the number of Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints around the country over the next six weeks because the temptation for people to get into the car is increased after consuming alcohol. My message to those drivers is ‘don’t do it - never, ever drink and drive’, because the consequences for you and others could be very serious. At best you risk losing your licence – at worst you could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for someone’s death or serious injury.”
He also added that the Gardaí will be targeting drink driving the morning after. This still remains a danger time zone as 12% of all drink driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm. Of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11am and 2pm.