The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have called on drivers to act responsibly and to not be tempted to drink and drive this Christmas and New Year period.
This year’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal was launched at An Garda Síochána Headquarters in Dublin today and focuses on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and the devastating loss of life and serious injuries it can cause.
Research published by the RSA and An Garda Síochána at the launch showed that over the last five years there were 83 fatalities and 709 serious injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.
This means that an average of 17 people die and 142 are seriously injured each year at this time. Almost seven out of ten fatalities were male, while almost two thirds of serious injuries were male.
The time period 4pm to 8pm was highlighted as the highest risk for fatalities. Serious injuries tended to occur predominantly late afternoon/evening, with over half (51%) occurring from 12pm through to 8pm.
Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Galway deputy Hildegarde Naughton said: “While the majority of drivers don’t drink and drive there are still some who persist in this dangerous behaviour.
Research from 2013-2017 shows that 36% of drivers killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol.
Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson of the Road Safety Authority said: “Christmas is meant to be one of the happiest times of the year where loved ones gather and memories are made. Unfortunately, every Christmas we see the devastating impact drink-driving has on families.
Deputy Commissioner, Ann Marie McMahon, An Garda Síochána said: “This weekend marks the start of the six week Christmas and New Year road safety enforcement campaign by An Garda Síochána.
Gardai will be conducting Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the country, to detect irresponsible drivers who drive under the influence of either alcohol or drugs or a combination of both. They will also be targeting other lifesaver offences including speeding, not wearing seat belts and mobile phone use by drivers.
Drivers are also being reminded that the Coca Cola Designated driver campaign is running again this year. The scheme offers free soft drinks and water to anyone acting as a designated driver on a night out with friends or family. In addition, Coca Cola has also teamed up with Q-Park cark parks to offer free parking for designated drivers in Dublin, Cork, Galway and Belfast.