With New Year’s Eve festivities set to kick off today across the country, we urge people to remember that any amount of alcohol will affect your ability to drive safely. There is no way around this; it is a scientific fact. Never ever drink and drive.
From 1st December to yesterday, 738 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to provisional figures released by the RSA yesterday. This is a 34% increase on 2015, where 549 arrests were made in the same period. On Christmas Day alone, 14 people were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
In addition, the RSA reports that 2016 sees a worrying 15% increase in road traffic fatalities compared to last year. In 2016, a total of 187 people have lost their lives on our roads in 175 fatal crashes, compared to 162 lives lost in 155 fatal crashes in 2015. These figures are nothing less than shocking. People are drink driving. The issue has not gone away but it is avoidable.
Yvonne Rossiter, Drinkaware CEO (interim) said:
“The figures released by the RSA yesterday are shocking and disappointing. If anyone thinks the issue of drink driving has disappeared, it is clear this is just not the case. If you are going out to celebrate New Year’s Eve tonight, leave the car at home. Look after yourself, your friends and others around you – never get into a car with someone who has been drinking, even if it is someone you trust. Our Christmas anti drink driving campaign, Had Enough, encourages people to understand that where driving is concerned, one drink is too many. We as a society have to stand up to those who continue to drink drive and show we have ‘Had Enough’ of this careless behaviour on our roads.”
If you decide to drink alcohol tonight, here are some things you might consider to help make this a safe night for all road users.
PLAN AHEAD HOW YOU’RE GETTING HOME
NOMINATE A DESIGNATED DRIVER
Could you or any of your friends be the designated driver? If so, remember to download a voucher for a free soft drink at designateddriver.ie.
THINK BEFORE YOU DRIVE ON NEW YEAR’S DAY
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 drinking. It takes your body one hour to process one standard drink and there’s no quick fix. Common examples of one standard drink include a half pint of beer, stout or lager, small glass of wine (100ml) or a pub measure of spirits (35.5ml). Nothing you can do will help to remove alcohol from your body any quicker, only time.
BE SAFE THIS NEW YEAR’S EVE
You can help to make sure this New Year’s Eve is a safe one by choosing not to drink and drive. If you decide to drink tonight, it is a good idea to remember that during any occassion where you are consuming alcohol you should keep track of how much you drink. Drinking alcohol at any level can increase the risk of damage to your health and wellbeing but this risk increases the more you drink. Try to keep track of how many standard drinks you consume; our online Drinks Calculator can help.
The HSE recommends that to reduce alcohol-related risks to your health and wellbeing, adhere to the low-risk alcohol guidelines:
- 11 standard drinks (110g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for women, with at least two alcohol-free days
- 17 standard drinks (170g pure alcohol) spread out over the week for men, with at least two alcohol-free days