GARDA BANK HOLIDAY APPEAL: 15% increase in drug and drink drivers so far this year

Clampdown on driving under the influence

Leinster Leader reporter

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GARDA BANK HOLIDAY APPEAL: 15% increase in drug and drink drivers so far this year

Garda checkpoint

Kildare gardai have pointed out there was a 15% increase in drivers detected having taken alcohol or drugs while driving
during first four months of 2019, compared to 2018.

Impaired driving and Driving under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol or drugs is the main focus of attention by road safety stakeholders for this bank holiday weekend.

There has been a reported rise of approximately 43% in the number of blood and urine specimens received by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety for alcohol and drugs testing in the first four months of the year when compared to the same period in 2018, while figures from the gardaí reveal the number of arrests for ‘Driving Under the Influence’ (DUI), which includes alcohol or drugs or a combination of both, is up 15%.

County Kildare’s Road Safety Working Group, which is led jointly by Kildare County Council and Kildare Gardaí; is advising drivers of the dangers of driving while having taken alcohol or drugs and are outlining some of the consequences if they are
involved in a collision as a result of killer behaviour.

Garda Sergeant Micháel Keevans of the Naas Roads Policing Unit said “We are well aware of the high volumes of traffic expected over the weekend but our number one priority is to ensure that every person on the road remains safe and that they are not put in any danger, either by their own actions or that of another road user. We will be conducting Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints around the county and we will also be looking at the other killer behaviors so our advice is to drive sober of any alcohol or drugs, wear your seatbelt and drive within the speed limit and to the conditions of the road.”

A total of 62 people have been killed or seriously injured in June Bank Holiday collisions over the last five years. So far this year, a total of 62 people have died on the roads, which is four more than up to the same period in 2018.

Road Safety Officer Declan Keogh, Kildare County Council, said “All too often we hear of the carnage and devastation as a result of serious collisions. Drivers need to realize that drugs do impair driving, which can result in delayed reactions, poor
awareness and bad decisions, all of which can have catastrophic consequences for themselves as a driver or an innocent party. Injuries suffered by some casualties have changed people’s lives, irrevocably, and the worst part about it all is that most of those collisions or injuries need not have happened in the first place.

"Our appeal is for drivers to use the roads safely and wise, take regular breaks on long journeys and have consideration for others road users too.”

Road safety working group member, Ben Woodhouse, Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Kildare Fire Service said “It’s difficult to comprehend how so many collision occur in the first place because let’s face it, many of them are avoidable and unnecessary. If people could only see what fire and ambulance personnel are faced with at the scene of a crash, I have no doubt; it would certainly change their mind and behavior while using the roads.

"The injuries alone, however minor or serious can leave a person regretting their actions for years to follow. Our advice is for everyone to be mindful of the dangers while using the roads, we all know what the dangers are so therefore, we should all know how to avoid them.”