With more and more people likely to be out on the roads over the next couple of weeks, motorists are being warned of the dangers posed by drink-driving ahead of the Christmas and New Year season.
While many will be enjoying the time off with friends and family, it is important to remember that where alcohol is concerned, the laws do not change just because it’s the holiday season.
According to the HSE, it takes most people 1 to 2 hours to process one standard drink and after you stop drinking, the alcohol levels in your system can continue to rise for up to 3 hours. As well as this, AA Ireland states that the effects of alcohol on driving can linger on long after a night out.
So, if you have been drinking, it’s of vital importance that you don’t get behind the wheel of a car until it is safe to do so.
“While the majority of us would never think of drinking and driving on the same night, we often forget that alcohol can continue to impact on your concentration, reaction times and driving ability into the following day, depending on how much you have consumed,” says AA Ireland spokesperson Anna Cullen.
“Drink-driving is by no means confined to a specific time of the year, but with so much going on over the festive period we do unfortunately see a spike in such behaviour this time of year,” adds Cullen.
An Garda Síochána’s statistics shows that, so far this year, almost 4,500 drivers were arrested for drink driving. Over the last five years, there were around 83 fatalities and 709 serious injuries on Irish roads during the Christmas and New Year period.
Information provided by An Garda Síochána also shows that one in four drivers admitted to driving over the limit the morning after a night out.
Serious injuries tend to occur predominantly in the late afternoon or evening, with 51% occurring from 12pm through to 8pm.
According to the RSA, under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, drink drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg will be disqualified from driving for three months and fined €200.
Between 2013 and 2017, the RSA report that 36% of drivers killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol.
“It’s vital that you keep safe on the roads this season, protect yourself, your family and other road users by making the smart decision to never, ever drink and drive,” adds Cullen.
The Gardaí are running a campaign across the Christmas and New Year period, with mandatory checkpoints for drink and drug driving across the country.