Gardaí to crack down on drink drivers this weekend

One-in-ten motorists admit getting behind the wheel after drinking in the past year

Gardaí to crack down on drink drivers this weekend

Garda David Maguire and posed model Mark Adams being tested for drink driving | Image: Photocall

Gardaí and road safety campaigners are calling on drivers to take extra care this Bank Holiday weekend.

The risks tend to increase on holiday weekends - when there are more people on the country's roads.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) is warning that driving while tired is particularly dangerous - with driver fatigue contributing to as many as one-in-five road deaths in Ireland every year.

Last year's August Bank Holiday saw two road deaths, 15 serious injuries and 166 people arrested for drink driving.

So far this year 95 people have been killed on Irish roads and gardaí are warning the public that any traffic offence this week will see drivers breathalysed.

Drink driving

The warning comes as a new research reveals that 10% of Irish motorists have gotten behind the wheel after drinking in the past year.

The figures - released by the RSA - become more concerning when it comes to younger drivers - with 16% of motorists under that age of 24 admitting to drink driving over the past 12 months.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said she hopes the stricter garda stance on breath tests will hit home for motorists this weekend.

"If the guards do detect someone committing a minor road traffic offence, they will breathalyse that driver also," she said.

"That will really hit home to people - that if they break a solid white line or if they cross over hatched lines or if they break a red light or something like that, they will get breathalysed as well."

An average of 740 people have been arrested for drinking and driving each month this year.

Mrs Murdock said it is particularly worrying that younger motorists do not appear to be getting the message:

"The younger age group is particularly risky, and the young men out there, so unfortunately that message is not getting across - or else the penalties are not strong enough," she said.

"The under 24s by their nature are also inexperienced drivers.

"They don't mind taking risks, they think they can handle the road and clearly they can't."

Busy roads

Meanwhile the AA is warning drivers to remain conscientious of other road users while travelling this weekend.

The company's PR officer, Barry Aldworth said driver should remain aware of domestic and international tourists on the road.

"You are probably going to see an increase in number of vehicles on the road particularly in cities around Ireland," he said.

"You are going to see an increase in people - be they foreign tourists or Irish people who are just going around the country - that they don't know the layout of the roads or they are not that intimately aware of the city.

"If you see another road user up ahead of you who looks a little confused - drop back, give yourself plenty of space, time and distance."

He warned that while people's driving behaviours often tend to change on holiday weekends - the rules of the road do not.