Limerick drivers warned to be careful on the roads this Christmas

Limerick drivers warned to be careful on the roads this Christmas

Mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints will be set up across Limerick this Christmas PICTURE: ADRIAN BUTLER

AS Christmas approaches, Gardai and the Road Safety Authority have appealed to all road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads.

And they are also pointing out the dangers of getting behind the wheel the morning after a night of drinking, pointing out 11% of fatal collissions in which a driver had consumed alcohol take place between 7am and 11am.

Garda statistics also show six per cent of all driving under the influence arrests this year have taken place between the same hours, with the highest number of such arrests on a Sunday and Monday morning.

Speaking at the launch of the annual Christmas and New Year road safety appeal, Transport Minister Shane Ross said: "The focus of our appeal this year is to warn the public about the dangers of driving the morning after consuming alcohol. We know that alcohol remains a significant contributory factor in fatal crashes and is responsible for far too many deaths and injuries on Irish roads. I appeal to all those socialising over the Christmas and New Year period to do so responsibly and never, ever, drink and drive, including the morning after. It’s simply not worth the risk now that new penalties have been introduced which mean drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg face losing their licence for three months.”

Former minister Liz O’Donnell, who chairs the Road Safety Authority, added: “Drink driving is a behaviour that must no longer be tolerated in our society and for that to happen people need to know all the facts. Drink driving at any time of the day or day of the week is drink driving, which is why you must take extra care the following morning if you have been drinking the night before. If you have been on a drinking session the night before and got to bed very late you could still have alcohol in your system.”

Assistant commissioner David Sheahan, a former head of the Limerick garda division, said: “An Garda Síochána will be launching its six week Christmas and New Year road safety campaign beginning this weekend. This will include a focus on mandatory intoxicant testing checkpoints around the country to deter people from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a combination of both.”

Some 136 people have died on Ireland’s roads to date in 2018 according to provisional figures from An Garda Síochána. There have been three fewer deaths this year compared to the same date last year.