THE Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána have renewed their warning to drivers ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The organisations are asking people to act responsibly and not be tempted to drink and drive over the weekend.
Research published by the RSA and An Garda Síochána showed that over the last five years there have been around 83 fatalities and 709 injuries on roads over the festive period.
Taking to social media on Tuesday, the RSA said that it had been a “dreadful” 48 hours on the roads with four deaths occurring.
“Please slow down, don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, wear your seatbelt, and watch out for cyclists, pedestrians, and horse riders,” the message read.
The RSA also wished to remind drivers of the dangers of driving the morning after consuming alcohol.
“The morning after is a real danger zone for drink driving,” said RSA CEO Sam Waide.
“An analysis of Garda investigation files for fatal collisions by the RSA shows that 11% of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol happened between 7am and 11am.
“There is no hard and fast rule about when it is safe to drive the morning after if you have been drinking the previous night, but motorists should allow at least one hour per standard drink for the alcohol to clear their system.
“A standard drink is a half-pint, a small glass of wine or a standard measure of spirits. If drinking at home, you may be unknowingly drinking larger measures and increase the risk of being unsafe to drive the following morning.
“The key is never to take chances, you could end up losing your licence or worse.”
Gardaí arrested more than 4,450 drivers on suspicion of drink driving and 3,333 for drug driving from January to November of this year.
A six-week campaign, which began in November, has seen gardaí at checkpoints across the country conducting breathalyser tests and speed and unaccompanied learner driver checks.
Fine Gael senator and Oireachtas Transport Committee member Jerry Buttimer echoed the appeal.
“Please remember as we approach the New Year period, intoxicated driving costs lives. Never ever drink and drive, never ever take drugs and drive,” Mr Buttimer said.
“We must get the message out there that intoxicated drinking is extremely dangerous to the driver themselves and all other road users and it will not be tolerated.”
The top causes of road fatalities also include speeding, the use of mobile phones, and not wearing a seatbelt.
With Met Éireann predicting another few days of blustery conditions and rain, the RSA is urging drivers to slow down and drive with caution over the weekend.
“All drivers need to take personal responsibility for their driving behaviour and the safety of other road users,” Mr Buttimer said.
“Nobody wants to get the dreaded call that their loved ones have died in a road accident. Unfortunately, that has happened for too many people this year and there have been a number of tragic incidents this Christmas.
“Let’s make it our New Year’s resolution to prioritise road safety and keep all road users safe.”
Coca-Cola and Q Park are currently offering free soft drinks and parking in Cork to designated drivers.