The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have launched an appeal for all road users to act responsibly and not to drink and drive over the extended St. Patrick’s Day Bank Holiday weekend 2022.

The appeal follows a worrying start to the year with 37 people killed on the roads to date this year. This is an increase of 20 deaths, or 118 percent, compared to the same time last year.

As part of the St. Patrick’s Day road safety appeal, An Garda Síochána has released data which shows that from January 1st, 2021, to February 28th, 2022, there were a total of 10,206 drink and drug-driving arrests, 1,398 of which were made this year. The RSA has also released new research in which one in four motorists admit there have been times when they may have been over the limit when driving after a night out.

“We are all looking forward to celebrating our first meaningful St Patrick’s Day weekend in three years with an extended bank holiday weekend. We want everyone to enjoy themselves however, we would urge people to do so safely and responsibly,” said Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton.

“These findings are concerning, the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána have been warning of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol for many years but some motorists continue to take risks. I am particularly struck by the number of people admitting to driving the morning after a night out with alcohol in their system. Remember you must take extra care the morning after a night of socialising, wait until it is safe before returning to the road or use public transport, take a taxi or a lift from a friend or colleague.”

The RSA’s survey of driver attitudes which was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes and carried out in November 2021, also revealed that a quarter of motorists surveyed (26 percent) think it is acceptable to drive short distances in their local area after one alcoholic drink.

Assistant Commissioner, Paula Hilman, Roads Policing, An Garda Síochána, commented: “While the majority of people act responsibly and don’t drink and drive, there are some who continue to take risks, for example, getting behind the wheel the morning after when they are still under the influence of alcohol. Garda detections indicate that one in every ten arrests for ‘Driving Under the Influence of an Intoxicant’ happens the morning after. We will be doing checkpoints day and night throughout this festival period.”

The RSA is encouraging drivers to mark St. Patrick’s Day responsibly and provides the following advice:

  • The only cure is time – after alcohol consumption, the only way to expel alcohol from your body is to wait.
  • It takes roughly one hour for a unit of alcohol to leave the body – one unit of alcohol is a standard measure of spirit, wine, or a half glass of beer.
  • Fatigue magnifies the impairment effect of alcohol – if you went to bed very late after consuming alcohol, you may not be fit to drive until lunchtime the next day.

Drivers are also reminded, if heading out socialising, to plan how they are going to get home.