THERE HAS BEEN a significant reduction in the number of reported collisions on Irish roads where alcohol was a factor since mandatory testing was introduced.
According to new research published today by the Road Safety Authority, there was a decrease of almost 13 per cent between 2005 and 2007.
Mandatory alcohol testing was introduced by Gardaí in 2006.
The statistics were released today ahead of this weekend’s festivities as authorities urge people not to drink and drive.
Over the past five years, 26 people have been killed on Irish roads during the St Patrick’s Day bank holiday period. In 2011, six people died in road crashes between 16 and 18 March.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar noted that last year’s figure was the lowest number of deaths recorded.
“There has also been a significant reduction in road deaths so far this year,” he added. “Motorists can be proud of this fantastic achievement, as it is primarily down to changed behaviour.”
However, drink-driving remains one of the biggest killers on Irish roads.
“There are still 32 families who have lost a loved one in what were preventable tragedies [this year],” said Noel Brett, chief executive of the RSA, who made this passionate plea:
If you’re heading out this weekend for a couple of drinks, leave the car at home and travel with a designated driver or use public transport. Never take a lift from a driver whom you know has been drinking or taking drugs. Make responsible choices about how you use the roads and never ever drink and drive.
Assistant Commissioner at An Garda Siochána John O’Mahony reminded the public that his team will be “out in force” over the weekend to tackle “high risk behaviours,” particularly drink-driving.
A total of 32 people have died on Irish roads so far this year. Of the fatalities, one in five were pedestrians and 3 in five were drivers of which almost half were aged between 21 and 25.