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A Garda performs a roadside swab on an actor
Drunk Driving

Gardaí arrested 914 people for driving while intoxicated during Christmas period

914 people were arrested for driving while intoxicated as part of a Garda road safety campaign between the 26th of November and the 4th of January 2022.

GARDAÍ ARRESTED 914 people for driving while intoxicated over Christmas and the New Year, with 35 drink and drug driving arrests occurring on New Year’s Day alone

The campaign primarily focused on mandatory intoxicant testing- detecting those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

It also aimed to detect drivers who were speeding, not wearing seatbelts, or using mobile phones, in addition to checking on unaccompanied drivers driving on learner permits.  

Assistant Garda Commissioner for Roads Policing & Community Engagement, Paula Hilman, appealed to all road users to prioritise road safety.   

“There were 13,950 speed detections over Christmas, while 1,269 fixed charge notices were issued to drivers using mobile phones and 525 fixed charge notices were issued to learner drivers, driving unaccompanied. These ongoing detections demonstrate that some road users continue to ignore road safety advice putting themselves and other road users at risk,” she 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.” 

She also noted that of the 35 drink and drug driving arrests which took place on New Year’s Day, 12 of the incidents occurred between 6AM-1PM.

Hilman referred to this as “a poor start to 2022 for some drivers.” 

In 2021 there were a total of 134 fatalities on Irish roads, the lowest amount since records began in 1959. This compares with 146 fatalities in 2020.

However 19 road fatalities took place during the period of the road safety campaign, almost double from the 10 deaths which occurred between the same period in 2020.

Gardaí undertook 15,759 breath tests at 5,681 checkpoints during the campaign, with 21% of tests which resulted in a drug-driving arrest taking place between 6AM and 1PM.

The chief executive of the Road Safety Authority, Sam Waide, thanked Gardaí for their efforts during the campaign but said that he was shocked by the amount of drivers driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

“Inappropriate speed is still an issue and even a 5% reduction in average speed can reduce fatal collisions by 30%. It is alarming to think that 28% 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,” he added.

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