26 Sept 2022

Checkpoints are already underway in Donegal this bank holiday weekend

Gardaí and RSA appeal to motorists not to drive under the influence

Checkpoints are already underway in Donegal this bank holiday weekend

The Gardaí Síochána and members of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) are urging all road users to act responsibly and not drink and drive this St Patrick's Day bank holiday weekend.

One in four motorists (26%) admitted there were times when they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after a night out according, according to new attitudinal research released by the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

The findings come as the RSA and An Garda Síochána launch an appeal for all road users to act responsibly and not to drink and drive over the extended St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday weekend 2022.

Last week, Garda Gráinne Doherty appealed to road users to drive with caution and to adhere to all road traffic regulations this weekend. 

The appeal also comes following what has been described by the RSA as a worrying start to the year with 37 people killed on the roads to date this year.

This is an increase of 20 deaths or 118% compared to the same time last year.

As part of the St. Patrick’s road safety appeal An Garda Síochána has released data which shows that from January 1, 2021, to February 28, 2022, there have been a total of 10,206 drink and drug-driving arrests, 1,398 of which were made this year. Ten percent of these arrests took place between the hours of 7am and 12pm.

Speaking ahead of the Bank Holiday, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Ms Hildegarde Naughton said: “We are all looking forward to celebrating our first meaningful St Patrick’s Day weekend in three years with an extended bank holiday weekend. We want everyone to enjoy themselves however, we would urge people to do so safely and responsibly.

"These findings are concerning, the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána have been warning of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol for many years but some motorists continue to take risks. I am particularly struck by the number of people admitting to driving the morning after a night out with alcohol in their system.

"Remember you must take extra care the morning after a night of socialising, wait until it is safe before returning to the road or use public transport, take a taxi or a lift from a friend or colleague," Ms Hildegarde Naughton said.

Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority, said: “Both collision and enforcement data tells us that alcohol related collisions do happen the morning after a night out. I am urging people to take extra care this extended bank holiday weekend and to think before they get behind the wheel after a night of drinking.

"It is important to remember that the only way you can get rid of alcohol from your body is time. What you can do is plan safe travel to enjoy your celebrations but also plan the following day if you’ve had a big night and are on the move the morning after.

"I wish people well in celebrating St Patrick’s Day and to have fun but please don’t drink and drive. Think, plan and act responsibly before you use your vehicle the following morning," Mr Waide said. 

The RSA’s survey of driver attitudes which was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes and carried out in November 2021, also revealed that a quarter of motorists surveyed (26%) think it is acceptable to drive short distances in their local area after one alcoholic drink.

As Ireland moves out of the Covid-19 pandemic and prepares to celebrate the first extended St Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday, the RSA is encouraging drivers to mark the occasion responsibly and has highlighted some key guidelines to remember the morning after alcohol consumption.

These include:

The only cure is time – after alcohol consumption, the only way to expel alcohol from your body is to wait.

It takes roughly one hour for a unit of alcohol to leave the body – one unit of alcohol is a standard measure of spirit, wine, or a half glass of beer.

Fatigue magnifies the impairment effect of alcohol – If you went to bed very late after consuming alcohol, you may not be fit to drive until lunchtime the next day.

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