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14/12/2015- Don't Drink and Drive this Christmas


 Christmas Road Safety Message


This Christmas and New Year -  If you drink, don't drive and if you drive, don't drink.



The message this Christmas from the Donegal Road Safety Working Group is - Never, Ever Drink and Drive.  Motorists are also being warned that if they have had a lot to drink the night before, their blood alcohol level may still be in excess of the legal limit the next morning. If you are detected driving without a seatbelt or using a mobile phone you can be tested for the presence of alcohol. According to a survey of driver attitudes conducted on behalf of the Road Safety Authority, figures show that 1 in 10 motorists or 284,000 have admitted to consuming alcohol before driving in the past 12 months, The figures were revealed at the launch of the annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign by the RSA and the Gardai.


  • 284,000 Drivers Admitted to Drink Driving in Last 12 Months


  • 150 Drivers Arrested Each Week for Driving Under the Influence





Preliminary enforcement figures released by An Garda Síochána also highlight the extent of the drink driving problem in Ireland as almost 6,000 people have been arrested on suspicion of driving whilst intoxicated from January – October 2015. The majority of the arrests were male and nearly half of those arrests occurred on a Saturday or Sunday. Of those over the limit, more than half were between 20-39 years of age. While the number of people admitting to drink driving is very high it is important to acknowledge that a large majority of motorists in Ireland choose not to drink and drive. However there is still a lot to do to completely eliminate drink driving from our society. Any amount of alcohol impairs driving. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. So if you are heading to an office party or socialising over the Christmas and New Year period, make sure you plan ahead. Leave the keys at home, book a taxi or designate a driver. Do not leave it to chance because once you take your first drink, you will not be able to make the right decision.


This advice also applies if you are intending to walk home after being out for a night as well. Drink driving at any time of the day is drink driving, that’s why you must take extra care the following morning if you have been drinking the night before, as the alcohol will still be in your system.  For anyone thinking about getting into a car after drinking alcohol, they need to be reminded of the recent case relating to the tragic death of Ciaran Tracey who died after a drunk driver collided with the car he was travelling in with his mum. This case highlights the actions of a drunk driver who shattered and devastated a family. Gillian Treacy’s heart-breaking victim impact statement and the description of the crash which resulted in the death of her four year old son Ciaran, must serve as a constant reminder of the very serious and devastating consequences of drink driving. It is a behaviour that must no longer be tolerated in our community. Drink driving is not safe and responsible and this totally unacceptable behaviour causes destruction and devastation – in many cases to innocent lives. There are currently 150 motorists detected every week drink driving. Up to 600 motorists will be arrested between now and Christmas on suspicion of drink driving.


Over the past number of years there has been a sea change in the attitude of the public towards drunken drivers, and for most people it is no longer socially acceptable to drink and drive. The campaign must continue and be intensified to send a message to those people who still persist in drinking and driving or think that drinking and driving is not a serious offence, that this is clearly not a sustainable or justifiable position.


Our message to motorists is - never, ever drink and drive, because the consequences for you and others could be life changing. At best you risk losing your licence – at worst you could have to live with the guilt of being responsible for someone’s death or serious injury.


One second, One stupid decision and it can change yours and everyone’s lives around you forever. Christmas and the New Year is a time for enjoying family and social events. It is vitally important to reiterate our key message; if you drink, don't drive and if you drive, don't drink – it's that simple!


This year the Gardaí and the RSA are approaching their anti drink driving campaign from a slightly different angle; they’ve produced a video of just what happens when someone is stopped by Gardaí in his or her car the morning after a heavy night. It’s uncomfortable viewing. As anyone who has been through the experience can admit to, being stopped by the guards when behind the wheel, for whatever reason, is a nerve-wracking experience.


The DRSWG would like to take this opportunity to wish all road users a Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year.





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