Gardai are targeting drink and drug driving in Kildare this May Bank Holiday weekend.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána warned road users of the dangers of driving under the influence. The appeal follows the recent introduction of Preliminary Drug Testing.
Drivers are being reminded that the Gardaí will be setting up Mandatory Intoxicant Testing Checkpoints at which they will be testing drivers for both alcohol and drugs at the roadside.
Checkpoints will be in place throughout the country including Kildare over the next four days.
Since April 13 the Gardaí have new powers to conduct Preliminary Drug Tests.
This means Gardaí can test drivers for drugs, similar to breath testing.
By taking a swab of a driver’s oral fluid, the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates such as heroin, morphine and benzodiazepines including valium can be detected.
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross said: "Ahead of the May Bank Holiday, I am appealing to everyone to be mindful of how you use the road.
“In particular, I would urge drivers to be aware of the effects of alcohol on their driving, as any amount of it can impair driving and increase the risk of a collision.
“This is not an opinion - it’s a scientific fact. There were no lives lost on the roads over the recent Easter Bank Holiday weekend, it would be a remarkable but not an impossible achievement if we could also keep the May Bank Holiday free from road deaths.”
Falling asleep at the wheel is also a problem and it is estimated that driver fatigue is a contributory factor in as many as 1 in 5 driver deaths in Ireland every year.
To help drivers stay alert behind the wheel over the May Bank Holiday Weekend, the RSA and Applegreen will provide free cups of coffee to drivers between 2pm and 8pm on Friday 28 April and Monday May 1 at participating service stations.
Simply say ‘RSA’ or ‘Driver Reviver’ to the till operator to avail of a free coffee.
A list of participating stations is available at www.applegreenstores.com/ie/locations and they include Applegreens at Naas, Newbridge, Caragh, Athy, Celbridge and Kilcullen.
Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority, Ms Moyagh Murdock said: "Drivers suffering from a sleep debt are at risk of ‘nodding off’ whilst driving and substantially increase their risk of being involved in a crash. If drivers do feel the effects of fatigue whilst driving they should remember to Stop, Sip and Sleep – Stop the car in a safe place, Sip a caffeine drink, and Sleep for 15-20 minutes.This should enable you to continue driving for another hour or so.”
Assistant Commissioner Michael Finn, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána, said: "Members of An Garda Síochána will be out in force over the Bank Holiday Weekend to keep the roads safe from careless and dangerous drivers.
“We know that the vast majority of people are law abiding and we want to thank them for their good road behaviour which is saving lives every day. There are those however, who continue to ignore the many safety appeals. We will continue to focus on these drivers because they put lives at risk.”