The annual Christmas and New Year road safety campaign will see mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints around the country in a bid to deter people from driving under the influence of drink and/or drugs during the holidays.
The campaign, launched by An Garda Síochána in association with the Road Safety Authority, runs throughout December and into early January.
As just over one in 10 alcohol related fatal collisions occur the morning after alcohol is consumed, there will also be early morning Garda checkpoints to address this issue.
Both marked and unmarked Garda vehicles will be on the roads over the festive period checking for both DUI and speeding offences, and drivers are also reminded that they can also be breath-testing if they commit a motoring offence.
An analysis of Garda Road Traffic Forensic Investigation files has revealed that the morning after is a risk period for alcohol related fatal crashes, with 11 per cent of fatal collisions, in which a driver had consumed alcohol, occurring between 7am and 11am. Indeed, six per cent of all driving under the influence (DUI ) arrests to date this year have occurred during this morning period.
The highest number of DUI arrests, at 104, occurred on a Sunday morning, representing 26 per cent of all morning DUI arrests. This is followed closely by Monday, at 90 arrests, representing 22 per cent of all morning after arrests.
It is important to remember that if you have been drinking, there could still be alcohol in your system the morning after. There is no quick fix — nothing but time can help to remove alcohol from your body.
Remember that there is no safe level of alcohol you can consume before driving, and trying to guess how much would still keep you under the limit for driving is a serious gamble.
All road users are being asked to act responsibly, particularly over the holiday period when there is an increase in vehicular traffic and long journeys as people visit family and friends in different parts of the country.
Gardai are appealing to all motorists undertaking journeys to be well rested, slow down, always wear a seatbelt, do not use mobile phones, and never, ever, drink and drive.
The objectives of the annual road safety campaign is to reduce road traffic collisions, save lives, and reduce injuries, and to remind drivers of the dangers of speeding.
Drivers are asked to pay attention to the speed limit signs on all roads, especially on entering built-up areas where there may be children out and about. Garda enforcement activity will be conducted on sections of the road network that have a propensity for speed related collisions and will target all vehicles, including all types of commercial vehicles.
Drivers are urged to take all necessary steps to ensure that their vehicles are safe, in particular that their tyres are up to standard. Over the past number of years, defective tyres were found to be a significant contributory factor identified in almost two thirds of fatal collisions. Drivers should also ensure that all the vehicle lights are in good working order.
Gardaí are also urging vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians to make sure that they are wearing high viz clothing throughout the day and especially during hours of darkness.
Pedestrians need to ensure they make arrangements to get home safely when out socialising. Research shows that alcohol could be a factor in almost a third of pedestrian deaths. In turn, cyclists should ensure they have the correct lights and that they are in working order, and to adhere to the Rules of the Road. Motorists are asked to be conscious of cyclists and pedestrians using the roads.