Garda Clampdown on Pre-Christmas Drink Driving Begins

Garda and emergency vehicles at the scene of the accident in Abbeyfeale tonight. ©Photograph: John Reidy 10-2-2015
Gardaí will be out and about in the annual drink driving clampdown from here to Christmas and after. ©Photograph: John Reidy

There is a misconception abroad that Garda checkpoints are not as frequent or as widespread as they were some few years ago.

There is also a feeling that ‘lads are inclined to take an extra sup for the road again,’ as one local man put it during the week.

I wondered if he was watching the RTÉ One News last night when it was announced that the rates of drink / driving arrests have risen dramatically in recent months.

Garda Vigilance Spiked

It’s an annual campaign of course, but Garda vigilance will be spiked by that surprising figure and just when we thought that nobody was taking that chance anymore.

According to the Road Safety Authority, the current penalties for drink driving offences include: disqualification periods ranging from three months to six years depending on the level of alcohol detected, and whether it is a first or subsequent offence.

The offence of refusing to provide a sample of blood, urine, or breath for evidential purposes will attract an automatic disqualification of four years for a first offence and six years for a second or subsequent offence.

Fine of €200 and Penalty Points

If the driver of any category of any vehicle is tested at the 50mg limit and they are over the limit they will be issued an on the spot fixed penalty notice, receive a fine of €200 and three penalty points. Points will remain on the license record for a period of three years.

Any driver accumulating 12 points in a three year period will be disqualified from driving for a period of six months.

If you’re going out for a few you’re being sincerely advised by An Gárda Síochána to leave the car at home and make other arrangements – any arrangement other that driving.

And if you had more than the one you intended to have – and that’s so easy at Christmas – get someone sober to drop you home. It used to be the case that the last man standing did the driving. It’s so easy to kill or be killed on the roads at Christmas.

The simple message: If you drink and drive there’s a distinct and now heightened possibility that you’ll be caught. Plus, there’s the possibility you could fail a breath test the following morning. Have a good Christmas and Mind how you go.

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