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914 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated in Garda Christmas crackdown stats reveal

Stock image. Picture posed by model

Stock image. Picture posed by model

Ciara O'Loughlin

A drink and drug driving crackdown over Christmas resulted in 914 people being arrested for driving while intoxicated, garda statistics reveal.

New Year’s Day was the biggest day for offending, with 35 people being arrested for drink and drug-driving offences.

Twelve of these incidents occurred between 6am and 1pm, which assistant commissioner Paula Hilman has said was a “poor start to 2022 for some drivers”.

Twenty-one percent of the overall 914 drug-driving arrests occurred between 6am and 1pm.

Although 2021 had the lowest road ratalities since records began in 1959, there was almost a 50pc rise in road fatalities over the Christmas period compared to the same period in 2020.

There were 19 fatalities on Irish roads between November 26 and January 4, which compared to 10 for the same dates in 2020.

In 2021 there were a total of 134 fatalities on Irish roads, which is 12 fewer than in 2020.

During the period from November 26 until January 4, gardaí detected 13,950 speeding offences, 15,759 breath tests were carried out and 5,681 checkpoints were performed.

A total 1,269 fixed charged penalty notices were issues for mobile phones, 310 were issued for non-wearing of seatbelts and 525 were given to learner drivers that were unaccompanied.

"These ongoing detections demonstrate that some road users continue to ignore road safety advice putting themselves and other road users at risk,” officer Hilman said.

"I would appeal to all road users to modify their behaviour, to heed road safety advice in order to reduce collisions, avoid unnecessary deaths and to ensure that our roads are safer in 2022.”

Chief executive of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) Sam Waide said it is “astonishing to see the numbers of those who persist to drink and drug drive, as it significantly increases the risk of a fatal collision.”

He added: “Inappropriate speed is still an issue and even a 5pc reduction in average speed can reduce fatal collisions by 30pc.

"It is alarming to think that 28pc of all drivers and passengers killed in 2021, in Ireland, were not wearing a seatbelt.

"These behaviours lead to death and serious injuries on our roads. I am asking those people who continue to break the rules to reconsider your behaviour, as there is a high likelihood you will be caught, face the prospect of being fined, receive penalty points, or lose your licence.”

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