The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have called on drivers to act responsibly and to not be tempted into drinking and driving this Christmas and New Year period.
2021’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal was launched at An Garda Síochána Headquarters in Dublin, and focuses on the dangers of driving under the influence and the devastating, sometimes fatal consequences it poses.
Research published by the RSA and An Garda Síochána at the launch showed that over the last five years shows there have been 802 casualties (83 of which have been fatalities) over the Christmas and New Year period. This means that an average of 17 people die and 142 are seriously injured over this particualr period annually.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, commented: “While the majority of drivers don’t drink and drive there are still some who persist in this dangerous behaviour. Research from 2013-2017 shows that 36% of drivers killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol. To anyone who thinks it’s ok to drive after drinking alcohol I say you need to understand that if you commit a drink driving offence you will face disqualification from driving for a minimum of three months. Think about how a driving ban would impact your daily life. You will no longer be able to drive to work, drive to the gym or drop the kids off to school. If you are planning on having a drink this festive season or anytime, remember that alcohol and driving do not mix. Designate a driver organise a taxi, hackney, minibus or use public transport.”
Deputy Commissioner, Ann Marie McMahon, An Garda Síochána said: “This weekend marks the start of the six week Christmas and New Year road safety enforcement campaign by An Garda Síochána. An Garda Síochána will be conducting Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country, to detect irresponsible drivers who drive under the influence of either alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. We will also be targeting other lifesaver offences including speeding, not wearing seat belts and mobile phone use by drivers. Members of An Garda Síochána will also focus on unaccompanied driving by learner drivers.”
Drivers are also being reminded that the Coca Cola Designated driver campaign is running again this year. The scheme offers free soft drinks and water to anyone acting as a designated driver on a night out with friends or family. In addition, Coca Cola has also teamed up with Q-Park cark parks to offer free parking for designated drivers in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.