Road safety focuses on devastation caused by drink-drivers

“My body was completely broken, but I didn’t realise I would never see him again." These are the words of Gillian Treacy, mother of four-year-old Ciarán who was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver in April 2014.

Gillian’s story and that of her husband Ronan, along with the Emergency Services who attended the collision, and the medical team who fought to save Ciarán’s life, are featured in the latest Crashed Lives ad campaign from the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána for its Christmas and New Year road safety campaign.

Ciarán Treacy was four years old when the car in which he was travelling with his mother Gillian and brother Seán was hit by a drunk driver. Ciarán died as a result of the collision while Gillian was left with devastating injuries.

The ad features home videos of Ciarán playing with his brother and sister in the garden, and laughing and smiling in the car, a picture of happiness and innocence. We hear the stories of Ciarán’s parents Gillian and Ronan, Sergeant Dave Lynam and paramedic Christy Kelly who attended the collision, and nurses Patrice O’Connell and Mary Joyce who fought to save Ciarán’s life.

The message behind the Crashed Lives campaign is that drink driving destroys lives, families and communities. With the festive season in full swing, the RSA and An Garda Síochána have issued stark warnings to road-users about the consequences of drink-driving.

Earlier this year, the RSA’s pre-crash report on alcohol, which examined Garda forensic investigation files into fatal crashes between 2008 and 2012, showed alcohol was a factor in 38 per cent of all fatal collisions (driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist and cyclist ), claiming the lives of 286 people. Some 29 per cent of drivers and motorcyclists killed had consumed alcohol.

Speaking before the launch, Gillian Treacy said Thursday 17 April 2014 was the day their lives were shattered because of drink-driving.

"As a mother, your instinct is to protect your children from any harm that might come their way, but I wasn’t able to do this for Ciarán. Because someone decided to drink and drive that day, and his actions led to the death of my little boy. Our lives will never be the same again. I beg anyone who would think of drinking and driving to think of my little boy, and to think of the devastated family and community still mourning his loss.”

An Garda Síochána have increased the number of mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints around the country on a 24/7 basis. Gardaí can breath test any driver who has committed any road traffic offence.

At the end of November, 169 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 27 when compared to the same period last year.

Between January and October 2016 there have been 6,629 arrests for driving under the influence, 406 more (6.5 per cent ) than this period last year. There were 665 arrests for driving under the influence during last year’s Christmas Campaign.

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