Don’t forget the night before...

I was all set to write my editorial on Dublin City Council this week. Ya know the story, they want our water, etc. But then two things happened.

Firstly there was the horrific crash in Collinstown this week, where a mother of four was killed. And then I got some information about drink driving figures.

You would think that everyone is more than aware of the dangers of drink driving at this stage, right? But you’d be surprised. Every week we see drink driving cases in the courts, and despite the cliche, even more so during Christmas.

The Road Safety Auhority, gardaí, Commission for Taxi Regulation, and MEAS have just launched their Christmas anti-drink driving campaign.

Last year, 38 people lost their lives on Irish roads during the month of December, with 18 people killed or seriously injured over the Christmas period alone. This tragic toll was highlighted at the launch of the 2008 Christmas anti-drink driving campaign from the Road Safety Authority (RSA ) and An Garda Síochána this week. This year’s campaign also sees the RSA joining forces with the Commission for Taxi Regulation and MEAS to launch the biggest ever anti-drink driving awareness campaign to date.

Consultants, surgeons, and medical staff were among the attendees at the launch in Cork University Hospital to hear the details of the awareness campaigns. The first, in association with the Commission for Taxi Regulation, includes a new TV and radio advert and is aimed at encouraging people to get home safely this festive season by using taxis or hackneys. The second campaign is in association with MEAS and includes two radio ads, highlighting the danger of drink driving the morning after a nigh’s socialising.

The HSE study into drink driving in Ireland also found that two out of every three alcohol-related crashes occur between 10pm on Friday night and 8am on Monday morning. To remind road users that they may still be over the limit the morning after they have been drinking, MEAS will be running a radio advertising campaign in association with the RSA over the coming weeks. RSA/, Morning After campaign cards will also be distributed and a poster campaign will target pubs and clubs nationwide.

Speaking at the launch, Fionnuala Sheehan, Chief Executive of MEAS and called on people to take responsibility for their drinking this Christmas and not ignore the morning after.

 “We have found that when drinking, many people do not consider what a standard drink is, and the period of time it takes their bodies to eliminate it. A standard drink measures the amount of alcohol, not the amount of liquid you’re drinking.  When it comes to the morning after and getting into your car to drive, not knowing how much you have drunk is extremely dangerous as you may still have alcohol in your system.”

I’m sure a lot of us have woken up the next morning, still feeling the effects of the night before. This is fine, as long as you don’t get behind the wheel of a car.

As of Tuesday November 25, there were 259 deaths on our roads, a reduction of 33 on the same period in 2007. It’s lower than last year, but it’s not nearly low enough.


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