The Road Safety Authority (RSA ) and An Garda Síochána have appealed to all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period.
Drivers have been especially warned of the dangers of driving the morning after a night of drinking when their driving could still be impaired by alcohol.
Analysis of Garda Síochána investigation files for fatal collisions, by the RSA, shows that 11 per cent of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol, occurred between the hours of 7am and 11am.
Meanwhile, An Garda Síochána statistics indicate that six per cent of all ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI ) arrests to date this year have taken place between 7am and 11am. The highest number of DUI arrests, at 104, occurred on a Sunday morning representing 26 per cent of all arrests between 7am and 11am. This is followed closely by Monday, at 90 arrests, representing 22 per cent of all morning after arrests.
At the press conference to launch this year’s Christmas and New Year road safety campaign, the RSA showcased its new Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR ) experience. Using VR technology the RSA has been able to put someone in the shoes of a driver who makes a foolish decision to drink and drive and experience first-hand the terrible consequences of drink driving.
Commenting on the launch of the new RSA virtual reality drink driving experience, Liz O’Donnell, chairperson of the RSA said: “The new VR experience is designed to show road users the severe consequences of getting behind the wheel after consuming alcohol. The use of new and emerging technology to spread important road safety messages is a key tool in changing behaviour. We demonstrated this technology at the National Ploughing Championships in September and received excellent feedback from attendees who tried it. By using virtual reality technology, we are exposing people to hazardous experiences in safe circumstances.”
Professor Denis Cusack, director of the Medical Bureau for Road Safety, said: “While many people accept the dangers associated with drink driving, some people often overlook the potential dangers of driving the morning after drinking the night before. It is important to remember that if you have been drinking the night before, there could still be alcohol in your system the morning after. There is no quick fix – nothing can help to remove alcohol from your body, only time. Remember that there is no safe level of alcohol you can consume before driving and you take a serious gamble trying to guess how much would still keep you under the limit for driving. Do not take the risk and never ever drink and drive.”
The HSE’s website askaboutalcohol.ie is an excellent resource for people who are looking for advice on how to cut down on their alcohol intake and includes information on alcohol and driving.
One hundred and thirty six people have died on Ireland’s roads to date in 2018 according to provisional figures from An Garda Síochána. There have been three fewer deaths this year compared to the same date last year.