According to a recent AA Ireland survey of over 5,000 motorists, around 1 in 10 respondents admitted that in the past year they have driven the day after a night out while possibly still over the legal blood-alcohol limit.
In the survey of 5,304 AA customers, respondents were also asked if they have travelled with someone who they believed was over the limit in the past year. 3% said they have, while 16% ‘weren’t sure‘ if the person was over the limit or not.
“Many people associate drink-driving with this idea that someone goes on a night out, drinks alcohol and then drives home. But, people might get up for work early the next morning and think they are okay to drive a vehicle, when they more than likely are not. They are not aware of the dangers posed by driving the next day while still over the limit,” says Anna Cullen from AA Ireland.
“Everyone breaks down alcohol differently and the time to bring you back under the legal blood alcohol limit will vary. Nothing will help you process the alcohol faster, only time. Our advice is simple: if you feel hungover, do not get behind the wheel. Wait or use alternative transport,” adds Cullen.
Recent figures from An Gardaí Síochána show that, during the period from 26th November 2021 until 4th January 2022, there were 914 driving while intoxicated arrests on Irish roads. 1 in 5 of these arrests occurred between 6am and 1pm.
15,759 breath tests were carried out, 5,681 checkpoints were performed and a total of 35 drink and drug driving arrests occurred on New Year’s Day. 12 of these arrests occurred between 6am and 1pm.
"The figures provided by An Gardaí Síochána are concerning. It is scary to think that people still choose to drink or take drugs and drive, ultimately putting themselves and other road users at serious risk. We hope that 2022 will be a safer year, and that people will adhere to the road safety advice," says Cullen.
Publishing details online of drivers disqualified by the courts
There were previous proposals by the Road Safety Authority (RSA) to publish details online of drivers disqualified by the courts. This was originally suggested to discourage potential road traffic offenders and reduce re-offending, by making the list publicly available.
In AA Ireland's survey, motorists were asked if they supported the introduction of a live register naming those found guilty of drink-driving offences.
42% 'strongly supported' the introduction, while 34% 'somewhat supported' it. 19% did not support, while 5% 'absolutely' did not support.
When asked if it would affect their driving behaviour, 69% said naming and shaming would not because they 'never drink and drive anyway', 19% say it would affect their driving behaviour and 12% said 'maybe'.
Further research was undertaken by the RSA to test the feasibility and potential effectiveness of this approach. According to the agency, there was minimal evidence to support the introduction of a register of all disqualified drivers.
Despite this, the agency said there may be merit in considering such a register for commercial vehicle drivers specifically, which could be accessed by employers. A specific action has been developed in the new government Road Safety Strategy 2021-2030 on this.