Huge drop in number of drink-driving arrests compared with 2007


There has been a huge drop in the number of people caught drinking and driving this year compared to five years ago, Garda figures show.

Up to the end of November, 8,747 people had been arrested for being over the alcohol driving limit. In 2007 there were 19,484 arrests in the full year.

More Garda resources have been put into detecting drink-driving, with a 3 per cent increase in checkpoints over the five years, from 64,550 to 66,336.

There has also been a cultural shift in people’s attitudes to drink-driving, according to Michael Brosnan, research manager with the Road Safety Authority. However, he said drink-driving was still one of three main factors in road deaths, along with speeding and not wearing seat belts.

A Garda study released yesterday shows there is a particular problem with some people repeatedly getting caught drinking and driving.

More than 4,500 people were caught drink-driving twice between January 2008 and September this year; more than 870 were caught three times; 249 were caught four times; 87 were caught five times; and 63 were caught six times or more. One individual was caught 26 times drink-driving during the period.

The alcohol blood level limit was reduced in October last year from 80mg to 50mg per 100ml.

A study conducted in the following 12 months shows men between the ages of 23 and 32 driving late at night or early in the morning on weekends formed 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 drinking the night before formed a new category of people being caught since the lower limits were brought in, the study showed.