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Twice as many people drive while drunk on Paddy's Day

NewsBy Shuki Byrne
Gardai are urging people to leave the cars behind this Patrick's Day
Gardai are urging people to leave the cars behind this Patrick's Day

Gardai and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) wish to appeal to all road users that, although it is a day of national celebration, responsibility and restraint are key to keeping safe on the roads on St Patrick's Day.

New figures released today show that over the past five years, on average, twice as many drivers have been arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving on both St Patricks Day and the day after, compared to any other day in the month of March.

In addition, 15 people lost their lives and a further 30 people were seriously injured in road collisions between 16th-18th March, between 2010 and 2014.

With many schools closed, many families will take the opportunity to travel to different parts of the country over the next few days. It is every road users responsibility to ensure that the roads are safe for all.

To date, 29 people have tragically lost their lives on Irish roads - which is 5 less than this date last year. 196 people in total lost their lives on Irish roads in 2014.

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran, Garda National traffic Bureau said today:

"Obviously we want everyone to enjoy the festivities that will take place around the country, but please remember that if you are celebrating and consuming alcohol, leave the car behind. This not only applies to the day itself, but also the morning after.

"Alcohol takes time to be removed completely from your system, so if you do it right on your night out, you must ensure you are alcohol free the morning after too. It is simply unacceptable to see that the number of drivers arrested on suspicion of drink or drug driving doubles over what should be a joyous couple of days."

Chief Superintendent Curran added: "Our message also applies to pedestrians. Please show restraint and take it easy, don’t overdo it with alcohol, and remember you must ensure you get home safely from your night out. Make this St Patricks Day period a happy, safe and road casualty free one for all.”

Moyagh Murdock, CEO of the RSA, also had a message for pedestrians, in particular those socialising over the St.Patrick’s Day period.

"Two thirds of pedestrians killed on our roads have consumed alcohol," she said.

"This is a staggering statistic, and it is not new. When you’re walking under the influence of alcohol you’re unsteady on your feet making you less capable of crossing the road safely and quickly and more likely to fall over or end up on the ground totally out of view of oncoming traffic.

"You’re also more likey to step out unexpectedly into the path of oncoming vehicles because your judgment of distance and speed is seriously compromised. So, if you are going out, plan getting back. This means organising collection afterwards, a lift, or sharing a taxi or hackney to get home safely."