Figures released by An Garda Síochána reveal that 914 drivers were arrested for Driving While Intoxicated over the Christmas and New Year period, while there were 13,950 speed detections over the same timeframe.
Although 2021 as a whole resulted in a reduction in road fatalities from 146 in 2020 to 134, the period between 26th November 2021 and 4th January 2022 saw 19 people lose their lives on our roads compared to 10 for the same dates in 2020.
An Garda Síochána’s Christmas and New Year Road Safety Campaign for 2021, which commenced on Friday 26th November and concluded on Tuesday 4th January 2022 focused primarily on Mandatory Intoxicant Testing i.e. detecting those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as targeting speeding, non-wearing of seatbelts and mobile phone use by drivers, in addition to checking on unaccompanied drivers driving on learner permits.
With 15,759 breath tests at 5,681 checkpoints conducted over the Christmas period, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement Bureau noted a particular occurrence of drink and drug driving arrests in the earlier parts of the day: “Approximately 1 in 5 (21%) drug driving arrests occurred between 6am and 1pm. 35 Drink and Drug Driving incidents occurred on New Year’s Day, 12 of the incidents occurred between 6am-1pm, that’s a poor start to 2022 for some drivers.” She added: “1,269 FCN’s were issued to drivers using mobile phones and 525 FCN’s were issued to learner drivers, driving unaccompanied. These ongoing detections demonstrate that some road users continue to ignore road safety advice putting themselves and other road users at risk.”
Assistant Commissioner Hilman appealed to all road users to prioritise road safety in 2022. ‘As we enter 2022 our thoughts are with the families of the 134 people who lost their lives on our roads during 2021. An Garda Síochána are committed to reducing deaths on our roads in 2022 and are asking all road users to make this their priority too. While a large majority of the public listen and comply with road safety advice we want all road users to be safe’.
Acknowledging the enforcement efforts from An Garda Síochána in 2021 and over the Christmas period, Sam Waide, Chief Executive, RSA added “It is astonishing to see the numbers of those who persist to drink and drug drive, as it significantly increases the risk of a fatal collision. Inappropriate speed is still an issue and even a 5% reduction in average speed can reduce fatal collisions by 30%. It is alarming to think that 28% of all drivers and passengers killed in 2021 in Ireland were not wearing a seatbelt. These behaviours lead to death and serious injuries on our roads.”
Key Statistics from Christmas Campaign
During the period from 26th November 2021 until 4th January 2022.
• 914 Driving While Intoxicated arrests
• 13,950 Speeding detections
• 15,759 Breath Tests carried out
• 5,681 Checkpoints performed
• 1,269 FCN’s issued for use of Mobile Phones
• 310 FCN’s issued for non-wearing of seatbelts
• 525 FCN’s issued for Learner Drivers Driving Unaccompanied
• A total of 35 Drink and Drug Driving arrests occurred on New Year’s Day – 12 of these occurred between 6am and 1pm.