In just 10 days Gardaí make 260 drink- and drug-driving arrests

Arrests made as part of the force’s Driving Under Intoxicant enforcement campaign

Motorists in Dublin and Cork were found to be four times over the legal limit. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Motorists in Dublin and Cork were found to be four times over the legal limit. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

 

Gardaí arrested 260 motorists for drink and drug driving offences over the first 10 days of December, an increase on the same period last year.

The arrests were made as part of the force’s annual Driving Under Intoxicant enforcement campaign. In a statement, a Garda spokesman said most cases involved drink driving, with a limited number related to drug use.

This marks an increase on the 243 drivers arrested between December 1st and 10th, 2016. It comes as the force has been convulsed by revelations over the recording of some 1.5 million phantom breath tests over the intervening period.

Members of the policing hierarchy have since made repeated pledges to stamp out falsifications and to ramp up the levels of roadside testing.

This is the first Christmas season during which gardaí have been able to carry out roadside tests specifically targeting substances such as cannabis, cocaine and prescription painkillers.

Legal limit

This change, along with the fact that the 10-day period in question covered two full weekends in 2017 as opposed to one the previous year, will have contributed to the increase in arrest figures.

Among those arrested for driving under an intoxicant was a driver arrested at 4pm on Saturday 9th December near Navan. This motorist tested in excess of five times the legal limit of 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath.

Motorists in Dublin and Cork were also found to be four times the legal limit while several specified drivers, which includes learner, novice and professional drivers, were recorded as having far exceeded the lower limit of 9 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath for this group.

The enforcement campaign will continue over the Christmas season and into the New Year, which is typically one of the most lethal times of the year for road deaths.