Gardaí warn of roadside checks for alcohol, drugs

Road Safety Authority says 59 people have died on Easter bank holiday weekends since 2012

Gardaí will mount   checkpoints across the State this weekend. Photograph: Collins

Gardaí will mount checkpoints across the State this weekend. Photograph: Collins

 

Gardaí have warned they will be targeting “high risk” behaviour, including driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, over the Easter bank holiday weekend.

An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said on Thursday that 59 people have been killed or seriously injured in crashes during the Easter bank holiday period since 2012.

Gardaí will mount mandatory intoxicant testing (MIT) checkpoints across the State this weekend that will see drivers tested for the presence of alcohol and drugs.

The RSA will broadcast public service messages to highlight the dangers and consequences of driving under the influence of drink and drugs.

It said the most recent research available on the role of alcohol in road crashes, which examined the toxicology reports of those killed in road crashes in 2014, found that one-third of drivers/motorcyclists who died had alcohol in their system at the time of their deaths.

The examination, conducted by the Health Research Board (HRB) as part of the National Drug Related Death Index (NDRDI), also found 28 per cent of pedestrians killed had a positive toxicology for alcohol.

“Based on other reports it is estimated that drugs play a role in as many as one in 10 fatal crashes in this country,” the RSA said.

RSA chief executive Moyagh Murdock said: “Nobody ever thinks that something bad like being in a crash will ever happen to them, but it can.

“Fifty-nine people over Easter bank holiday weekends since 2012 didn’t arrive home or suffered serious injury. We don’t want anyone to suffer this fate. That’s why we are making this public appeal with the gardaí.”

Ms Murdock said people should have fun and enjoy the weekend but they should remember the decisions they make determine if they make it home safely.

“This means deciding not to drive under the influence of drugs or after drinking. If you have been drinking make alternative plans to get home safety.”

Chief Supt Finbarr Murphy of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said members of the unit would be conducting roadside screening at MIT checkpoints across the State this weekend, testing for both alcohol and drugs.

“In addition to this we will be watching out for the erratic behaviour of drivers as a means of identifying those who may be driving under the influence of an intoxicant,” he said.

“But drivers should be aware that as the Easter bank holiday weekend is a high risk period, we will also be targeting other killer behaviours such as speeding, mobile phone use and non-wearing of seatbelts.

“Our priority is to ensure that people who use the road responsibly are not put at risk by the minority of drivers who act without any consideration for the safety of others on the road.”

A total of 38 people have been killed on the State’s roads to date in 2018 - a decline of eight deaths compared to the same date last year.