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Christmas / New Year Anti Drink Driving Campaign

26 November 2015: 284,000 drivers, or 1 in 10, have admitted to consuming alcohol before driving in the past 12 months, according to a survey of driver attitudes conducted on behalf of the Road Safety Authority (RSA). The shocking figures were revealed at the launch of the annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign, today Thursday 26th November 2015.

284,000 Drivers Admit to Drink Driving in Last 12 Months

- 150 Drivers Arrested Each Week for Driving Under the Influence

- Gardaí will be targeting drink driving the morning after.

Furthermore, of those who admitted to drink driving, almost 2 out of 5 said they had consumed two or more drinks. The research shows that the incidence of alcohol consumption is much higher among males, those who drive for work and those who have had a collision/near miss in recent years. They are also likely to be high speeding and rule violators.

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 for the period January –October 2015. The vast 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.

Speaking at the launch of the annual festive road safety campaign, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Paschal Donohoe said:

"While the number of people admitting to drink driving is shocking it is important to acknowledge that the vast majority of people in our society choose not to drink and drive. However we still have much to do to completely eliminate the scourge of drink driving from our community. For anyone contemplating getting into the car after consuming alcohol I want to remind you of Gillian Treacy’s heart-breaking victim impact statement. Gillian’s 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.”

Ms. Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority said:

"Any amount of alcohol impairs driving. This is not an opinion, it’s scientific 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 and book a taxi, hackney, use public transport or designate a driver. Do not leave it to chance because once you have that first drink, you will not be able to make the right choices. This advice also applies if you are intending to walk home after socialising too.”

Ms. Murdock also warned drivers of the dangers of drink driving the morning after.

"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 you may still have alcohol in your system. 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 Mark Curran, Garda National Traffic Bureau, An Garda Síochána said:

"An Garda Síochána will be increasing the number of Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints around the country over the next six weeks because the temptation for people to get into the car is increased after consuming alcohol. My message to those drivers is ‘don’t do it - never, ever drink and drive’, because the consequences for you and others could be very serious. 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

Chief Superintendent Mark Curran also reminded drivers that:

"The powers of An Garda Síochána enable us to breath test any driver who has committed a road traffic offence. So for example, if you are detected driving in a bus lane, or using a mobile phone you can be tested for the presence of alcohol.” He also added that "the Gardaí will be targeting drink driving the morning after. This still remains a danger time zone as 12% of all drink driving arrests occur between 8am and 2pm. Of those, almost a third happen on a Sunday, peaking between 11am and 2pm.”

To raise awareness of the Christmas & New Year Anti-Drink Driving Campaign, the RSA and An Garda Síochána have produced a short information video which clearly shows what a driver can expect if caught drink driving. In the scenario shown, a driver who is detected driving illegally in a Bus Lane in the morning rush hour is breath tested, fails, is arrested and taken to Store Street Garda Station. The video will be promoted online and though social media.

Drink Aware and the Road Safety Authority will also run a refreshed version of its ‘Morning After’ campaign. It reminds anyone who has been out celebrating that they may be unfit to drive the following morning. The campaign includes a 30 second online video, radio ad and washroom poster.


Gender of drink driving prosecutions
Female 14.6%
Male 85.4%

% of drink driving prosecutions per age group January –October 2015
Age Group 2015
0-19 3.8%
20-29 29.9%
30-39 26.4%
40-49 19.5%
50-59 12.9%
60-69 5.6%
70-79 1.6%
80 or over 0.3%

56.3% of offenders were between 20-39 years. Nearly 20% were between 40-49.

Day and time of the week of drink driving arrests where the driver was over the limit
         00:00-06:00   06:00-12:00    12:00-18:00    18:00-00:00    Total
Sunday     16.0%           2.2%                 2.6%           6.8%         27.6%
Monday     6.7%           1.0%                 2.0%            3.9%         13.7%
Tuesday     3.2%           0.7%                 1.4%            3.3%           8.7%
Wednesday 2.4%          0.5%                 1.3%            2.9%           7.2%
Thursday     3.4%          0.9%                 1.2%            3.9%           9.4%
Friday         4.1%          0.8%                 1.3%            6.4%          12.6%
Saturday     10.0%        1.4%                 1.8%            7.8%           21.0%
Total           45.7%        7.4%                11.7%           35.1%

• All figures are provisional, operational and subject to change

For further information please contact:
Road Safety Authority Communications Office: 096 25008, E-Mail mediadept@rsa.ie
Brian Farrell, Communications Manager:
Garda Press Office: 01 6662071, E-Mail: pressoffice@garda.ie

*Study conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes of 1,061 drivers on behalf of the RSA in November 2014.