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Drivers caught for minor road offences will now face a breath test, says gardaí. Shutterstock/nikamo
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Drivers caught for minor road offences will now face a drink driving breath test

New research has found that 10% of Irish drivers admitted to drink driving last year.

GARDAÍ HAVE WARNED drivers that if they are caught for minor road offences they will also be breathalysed for drink driving.

Launching the August bank holiday road safety campaign today, Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid said:

“We wish to remind drivers that they can be breath tested not only at mandatory intoxicant checkpoints but also after committing any road offences or after being involved in a fatal or injury collision.”

He said all members of the gardaí have been reminded of their powers to mandatory breath test anyone that is caught committing even a minor offence.

This means that drivers caught breaking a red light, holding a mobile phone while driving, or parking illegally will also have to take a breath test.

August bank holiday

Reid stated that despite warnings from the gardaí and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) last August bank holiday weekend, there were two fatalities and 15 people seriously injured.

During the same weekend, 166 drivers were caught drink driving, with 214 people caught using their mobile phone while driving.

Over 2,500 people were caught speeding over the bank holiday weekend last year, while 131 people were found not wearing their seatbelts.

“The monthly average this year for driving under the influence is 740 per month – that is a staggering number,” said Reid, who said there would be an increased presence of gardaí on the roads this weekend.

Yesterday alone, 16 people were caught drink driving, he explained.

Increase in drink driving 

New research by the RSA has shown that there has been an increase in drink driving in the last 12 months, with 10% of motorists admitting to have driven a vehicle after consuming alcohol.

Broken down by gender, 14% of men admit to have driven their car after drinking alcohol, while 6% of women admit to doing the same.

The survey of over 1,000 people shows that 16% of those under 24 have admitted to drinking and driving in the past 12 months. This is up from 7% in 2015 and 4% in 2014.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said they were very concerned about the research.

The new survey also identified that a group of ‘high risk drivers’, especially those that admit to using a mobile phone while driving, are twice as likely to have admitted to drink driving in the past 12 months.

“Bearing in mind the findings of the survey, we are reminding our members to take every opportunity to breath test drivers after the commission of any offence,” said Chief Superintendent Reid.

“If you are travelling on roads we ask you to plan your journey, take sufficient rest and if you do want to socialise and take a drink, plan for that, and allow someone else to drive the car,” said Reid.

Drug testing 

Speaking about the new drug testing initiative, he said that 46 drivers have been tested in the last four months, with just 11 motorists testing positive for driving under the influence of drugs.

Following further tests of the 46 drivers back at garda stations, some were found to be under the influence of alcohol while driving.

The drivers that tested positive for drug driving were all in the Dublin region.

Checkpoints for drug testing were rolled out in early April. Three of the drivers who tested positive for driving under the influence of drugs were detected in April, with one positive test in May. There were five positive tests in June and two in July.

‘Austerity cost lives’: Drink driving convictions in Ireland fell MASSIVELY in the last 10 years>

‘It’s an insult to my little boy’: Families who lost loved ones to drunk-drivers slam politicians opposing new law>

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