The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána in Ireland are appealing to road users to act responsibly and safely on the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period. Drivers are especially warned of the dangers of driving the morning after a night of drinking when they could still be impaired by alcohol.

Analysis of Garda Síochána Investigation Files for fatal collisions, by the RSA, shows that 11 percent of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol, occurred between the hours of 7am and 11am.

An Garda Síochána statistics also indicate that six percent of all Driving Under the Influence (DUI) arrests to date this year have taken place between 7am and 11am. The highest number of DUI arrests, at 104, occurred on a Sunday morning, representing 26 percent of all arrests made between 7am and 11am. This is followed closely by Monday, representing 22 percent of all “morning after” arrests.

“The focus of our appeal this year is to warn the public about the dangers of driving the morning after consuming alcohol,” said Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross. “We know that alcohol remains a significant contributory factor in fatal crashes and is responsible for far too many deaths and injuries on Irish roads. I appeal to all those socialising over the Christmas and New Year period to do so responsibly and never, ever, drink and drive, including the morning after.”

New penalties mean that drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg face losing their licence for three months.

“Drink driving is a behaviour that must no longer be tolerated in our society and for that to happen people need to know all the facts,” said Liz O Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority. “Drink driving at any time of the day or day of the week is drink driving, which is why you must take extra care the following morning if you have been drinking the night before. If you have been on a drinking session the night before and got to bed very late you could still have alcohol in your system.”

Launching this year’s Christmas and New Year road safety campaign, the RSA showcased its new Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) experience. Using VR technology the RSA is able to put someone in the shoes of a driver who makes a foolish decision to drink and drive and experience first-hand the consequences of drink driving.