AS St Patrick’s Day festivities approaches, An Garda Síochána is anxious to ensure anyone using a vehicle is aware of its Bank Holiday enforcement campaign.
The campaign will, in particular, target driving while intoxicated, speeding, dangerous/careless driving, failure to wear seat belts, distraction driving (use of mobile phones, or iPods) and fatigue.
In the five year period from 2011 to 2015, a total of 15 people lost their lives and a further 34 people were seriously injured in road collisions between March 16 and 18.
Stated Noel Kelly, regional traffic superintendent, Western Region: “An Garda Síochána are asking all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads. Drink-driving destroys lives – at best, you could lose your licence but far worse, and far more difficult to live with, is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone on the roads.
“Gardaí will be patrolling the road network throughout western region over the St. Patrick’s Festival period in marked and unmarked vehicles and would like to remind drivers that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can breath-tested if they commit any road traffic offence. So please make sensible choices when using the roads and never, ever, drink and drive.
"In particular, I would remind drivers of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before. Up to 12% of all drink driving arrests occur between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and, of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
"So it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others and this means leaving the car at home and taking a taxi or public transport the morning after if they need to get somewhere. It’s just not worth taking a chance if you are still over the legal limit.
"The safest thing to do if you’re heading out for the night is to plan your journey home by organising a lift, a taxi or using public transport. I would also encourage people to look out for each other – if your friend or relative is under the influence of alcohol, make sure they get home safely. Pedestrians should ensure that they are wearing High Viz. clothing while walking on roads and to be conscious of their safety at all times.
“The stark reality is that to date this year, 29 people have been killed on Irish roads, one more than the same period last year. 166 people lost their lives on Irish roads in 2015.”