xmas crackdown | 

Gardaí arrest 173 people over the past week for driving under the influence

Seoirse MulgrewIndependent.ie

Gardaí have arrested 173 people over the past seven days for driving under the influence, 24 of whom were arrested on suspicion of drug driving.

From December 22 to December 28, 1,380 checkpoints were conducted nationwide as part of this year’s Christmas and New Year road safety campaign.

A total of 29 seatbelt offences have been identified, 82 offences for use of a mobile phone while driving and 3,060 speeding offences.

Gardaí have been targeting the four ‘lifesaver’ offences with a particular emphasis on the locations within Garda divisions where analysis has shown a higher risk of fatal or serious injury road traffic collisions.

During the month of December there were over 5,500 checkpoints conducted, 600 arrests for driving under the influence, 186 seatbelt offences identified, 11,647 speeding offences, 724 offences for use of a mobile phone while driving and 4,124 collisions reported to An Garda Síochána.

To date, 159 people have lost their lives on Irish roads. This is 27 more than on the same date in 2021. Some 1,185 collisions causing serious injury have also occurred.

Data compiled over the past 12 years indicates that the highest risk time for fatal or serious road traffic collisions during the Christmas and New Year period is between 12 noon and 9pm - with 55pc of incidents occurring within this timeframe.

More specifically, 21pc of incidents occurred between 3pm and 6pm.

Inspector Ross O’Doherty of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said it is “stark” to see these statistics knowing the “potential that each of these offences had to cause accident or injury”.

“But this is the reality of the behaviour of some drivers. It should go without saying that behind these stats are real lives, real people and real threat to their lives and the lives of other road users,” he said.

"As plenty of families and friends get set to celebrate the New Year tonight and over the weekend, we are reminding those that may be intending to have a drink to make alternative arrangements to get home and to avoid driving the following morning also.

“The importance of this is shown in the fact that between Thursday, 1st of December and today, 76 people have been arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving between the hours of 6am and 2pm in the afternoon.”

Insp O’Doherty said gardaí are out conducting checkpoints and other operational activity nationwide to ensure that everyone gets to their destination safely this New Year’s weekend.

"Not everyone might realise the real dangers of driving the morning after but intoxicated driving at any hour of the day or night carries a high risk – a risk to the health and safety of you and other road users but also of losing your licence and being put off the road which carries penalty,” he said.

"We are not asking motorists, we are urging them to help us reduce the number of serious and fatal road traffic collisions by never taking a risk. It is never, ever worth it and hindsight often comes far too late.”

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