50% drop in drink-drive figures
There has been more than a 50 per cent drop in the number of people caught drinking and driving compared to five years ago, Garda figures show.
Up to the end of November this year, 8,747 people were found to be over the alcohol driving limit. In 2007 the figure was 19,484.
More Garda resources were being put into catching people drink driving, with a 3 per cent increase in checkpoints set up to test alcohol over the five years, from 64,550 to 66,336.
There has also been a cultural shift in people’s attitudes to drink driving, said Michael Brosnan, research manager with the Road Safety Authority.
But he added drink driving was still one of three main factors in road death, along with speeding and not wearing seat belts.
“Drink driving is still a fundamental problem,” he said.
The limit for alcohol was lowered in October last year from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml, and a study between then and October this year shows men between the ages of 23 and 32 driving late at night or early in the morning on weekends were the most likely group to get caught drink driving.
Men between 38 and 47 caught drink driving were most likely to have the highest levels of alcohol in their blood.
People driving on Sunday mornings at about 11am after having drunk alcohol the night before were a new category of people being caught since the lower limits were brought in.
“The impact of new legislation on drink driving limits has been positive,” Assistant Garda Commissioner Gerard Phillips said yesterday.
Another study showed a problem with people repeatedly being caught drink driving. Over 4,500 people were caught drink driving twice between January 2008 and September this year, while more than 870 were caught three times. A total of 249 were caught three times, 87 were caught five times and 63 people were caught six times or more. One individual was caught drink driving 26 times during the period.
Lithuanian and Latvian nationals had the highest rate of repeat offending (34 per cent), followed by Polish nationals (25 per cent) and Irish (21 per cent). Irish people accounted for 72 per cent of drink driving offences.
“We knew there was a problem with repeat offenders and we welcome this information on it,” said Mr Brosnan, research manager at the Road Safety Authority.