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Gardaí arrest 500 motorists for drink driving in just three weeks - and 40 in two days

The figure is an increase of over a third (34%) on the number for this time last year.

Image: An Garda Síochána/Twitter

OVER 500 MOTORISTS have been arrested since the start of this year’s anti-drink driving campaign.

Gardaí say figure is an increase of over a third (34%) on the number for this time last year.

In the last two days alone, 40 people have been arrested on suspicion of drink-driving. All those arrested were men aged between 22 and 69.

Assistant Garda Commissioner Michael Finn said nine of those 40 arrests took place at checkpoints. Five were people involved in collisions.

The gardaí’s drink-driving campaign began on 1 December.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Finn said:

As of this morning, we’ve arrested 513 people as part of our drink-driving campaign

“It’s regrettable that even though we’ve launched this campaign, we’ve appealed to the public not to drink and drive, it’s regrettable that we’ve arrested over 513 people for drink driving.”

Kerb

Regarding those arrested in the last two days, Finn added:

The majority of them were people that we intercepted ourselves driving impaired, which varied from things like hitting the kerb, doing illegal turns and indeed even some of them were arrested for speeding, as well as being arrested for drink-driving.

“That’s the reality – and the message I want to get out is that all of these people are putting other road users at risk.

“Do not drink and drive this Christmas, the consequences are too severe.

It certainly is very frustrating for us. The majority of road users out there comply, but there is a small cohort that continues to put other people’s lives at risk by driving while impaired.

The assistant commissioner added that drivers getting behind the wheel the morning after a night of drinking remains a problem – including the drives of articulated lorries.

And it’s not just drink-driving, we also have to factor in speed, people using their mobile phones, and pedestrians and cyclists on the road not wearing high-vis [jackets].

“But, this time of year, our staff tell us that the biggest significant problem is drink-driving.

“If you go out at night-time, do plan ahead. Get a bus home, get a taxi home, or walk. But whatever you do, never ever drink and drive.”

Gardaí will maintain an increased presence on the roads until 8 January, he added.

An RSA report published this year shows that alcohol was a factor in 38% of all fatal crashes between 2008 and 2012, accounting for the deaths of 286 people.

Target

Drinkaware, an advocacy body funded by the alcohol industry, launched its anti-drink driving campaign today.

“Similar to speeding, the drink driving limit is not a target,” Drinkaware interim CEO Yvonne Rossiter said.

Alcohol Action Ireland has long criticised the drink industry’s efforts to promote sensible drinking, calling them subliminal advertising.

Prof Aiden McCormack of the Irish Society of Gastroenterology has said their efforts actually encourage greater consumption.

A recent report on alcohol consumption showed that the government’s proposed minimum pricing legislation – opposed by alcohol industry lobbyists – would have great health benefits.

Read: 500 people die of alcohol-related cancer in Ireland every year

Read: Women warned of dangers of ‘bottomless Prosecco brunches’

Read: DrinkAware wants to educate young people about drinking but it’s facing criticism

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