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Drink driving warning for St Patrick’s Festival

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána are asking all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads over the St Patrick’s Day festival period.

In particular, drivers are being warned of the dangers of driving the morning after a night of drinking where their driving could still be significantly impaired by alcohol.

In the five year period 2011-2015 a total of 15 people lost their lives and a further 34 people were seriously injured in road collisions between March 16-18.

Ms Moyagh Murdock, chief Executive of the RSA said, “St Patrick’s Festival is traditionally a time for people to enjoy a break from work, school or college, and enjoy the festivities around the country. We’re not suggesting that people don’t enjoy themselves but we would urge people to act safely and responsibly, particularly when it comes to alcohol and road use. If you decide to go out for the night, leave the car at home and take the sensible option by using a designated driver or getting a taxi, hackney to and from your destination.”

“This is also important the morning after the night before as you may still be over the limit without realising it. It roughly takes you about one hour for your body to get rid of one unit of alcohol, that’s a half pint or standard glass of wine. If you got to bed in the early hours and didn’t get a good night’s sleep, this will magnify the impairing effects of any alcohol in your system.”

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, Garda National Traffic Bureau said, “An Garda Síochána is committed to ensuring that the incidences of drink-driving on our roads are reduced. Simply put, drink-driving destroys lives – at best, you could lose your licence but far worse, and far more difficult to live with, is the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone on the roads. Our members will be patrolling the road network throughout the country over the St Patrick’s Festival period in marked and unmarked vehicles and would like to remind drivers that in addition to mandatory breath testing, they can be breath-tested if they commit any road traffic offence. So please make sensible choices when using the roads and never, ever drink and drive.”

“In particular, I would remind drivers of the dangers of driving the morning after the night before. Twelve percent of all drink driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm and of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11am and 2pm. So it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others and this means leaving the car at home and taking a taxi or public transport the morning after if they need to get somewhere. It’s just not worth the chance if you are still over the legal limit.”

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