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Booze cruise Almost 10% of Irish motorists have gotten behind the wheel after drinking, RSA reveals

Drink driving is drink driving no matter what time of the day or week it happens"

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Beer glasses in a pub (Philip Toscano/PA)

Beer glasses in a pub (Philip Toscano/PA)

Beer glasses in a pub (Philip Toscano/PA)

One in four drivers have admitted getting behind the wheel the morning after a night out even when they suspected they might still be over the limit. 

And nearly 10 per cent of motorists consumed alcohol before driving, the same study has found.

The alarming new figures were released today by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) as the authorities appealed to drivers not to drink and drive ahead of the June Bank Holiday Weekend.

A total of 14 people have been killed and a further 64 injured on our roads over the bank holiday weekend from 2016 to 2020, according to the figures sourced from the Driver Attitudes & Behaviour Survey, 2020.

Sam Waide, CEO of the RSA, said he was concerned at the numbers who are getting behind the wheel the morning after with drink on board.

“Drink driving is drink driving no matter what time of the day or week it happens,” he said.

“The morning after is a real danger zone for drink driving. A previous analysis of Garda Síochána Investigation Files for fatal collisions, by the RSA, shows that 11 per cent of fatal collisions, in which a driver had consumed alcohol, occurred between 7am and 11am..

He added: “There is no hard and fast rule about when it is safe to drive the morning after if you have been drinking the previous night. But motorists should allow at least one hour per standard drink for the alcohol to clear their system. A standard drink is a half-pint, a small glass of wine or a standard measure of spirits.

“Also, if drinking at home, you may be unknowingly consuming larger measures and therefore increasing the risk that you are unsafe to drive the following morning. The key is never to take chances, don’t risk it, you could end up losing your licence or worse.

“Some 47 people have died on our roads in 2021. We want everyone to enjoy this Bank Holiday Weekend and to be safe on our roads, so I appeal to every driver to be responsible, and never, ever drink and drive.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, said gardaí will be visible across the country this weekend.

“Alcohol and drugs impair peoples’ judgement,” Assistant Commissioner Hilman said. “Intoxicated driving is a major factor in serious injury and fatal collisions on our roads.

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"I appeal to people to drive safely and not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are stopped and fail a roadside test, think of the implications, you could receive a disqualification from driving. How will this impact on you socially, domestically or professionally?”

Professor Denis Cusack, Head of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety said drug driving has increased substantially in recent years.

“However, alcohol remains the most prevalent intoxicant detected in drivers,” he said.

“In 2020, 94 per cent of drivers, who following arrest provided an evidential breath sample for alcohol analysis, had alcohol detected in their breath.”

He added: "All age groups are well represented in drink driving detections. The median age of drivers asked to provide a breath sample for alcohol testing in an Irish garda station is 38.

"The majority of arrests for drink driving in males is evenly spread across the late teen to mid forty age categories, while female arrests peak in the 35 to 44 age group.”

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