Drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs are the target of Ireland’s annual Christmas and New Year road safety appeal.

The campaign has been launched by the authorities after Road Safety Authority (RSA) figures revealed a 133 percent increase in the amount of people detected driving under the influence of drugs on the country’s roads.

So far this year, 2,537 have been detected compared to 1,192 detections for the same period in 2019.

The spike is despite traffic volumes being reduced by up to 70 percent at times this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the campaign’s first weekend Gardaí detected 85 people driving under the influence of alcohol and 26 driving under the influence of drugs.

An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA), along with the Department of State for International and Road Transport and Logistics, and the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, are running the campaign until Tuesday, 5 January, 2021.

“The consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs can be devastating,” said Ms Liz O’Donnell, Chairperson, Road Safety Authority.

“I would appeal to anyone about to drive after drinking alcohol to stop and wait until they are alcohol free and safe to drive.”