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Fine weather brings a spike in drink drive arrests


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Fine weather brings a spike in drink drive arrests Fine weather brings a spike in drink drive arrests

The first shot of sustained sunshine so far this year on Sunday brought with it an unwelcome side effect – a ‘worrying’ spike in drink driving offences, senior Gardaí confirmed.

And those caught intoxicated behind the wheel are not borderline or ‘just over the limit’, they are often three and four times over the legal limit, according to Garda Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche.

Chief Supt Roche said seven drunk drivers were arrested in Galway City last Sunday on suspicion of intoxicated driving.

It was the first sign that summer was on the horizon on Sunday with Met Éireann confirming temperatures reached 20 degrees Celsius in parts of Galway.

The fine weather coincided with what Chief Supt Roche said was a ‘worrying increase’ in drink driving arrests for one day.

Inspector Conor Madden agreed that seven was a high number of intoxicated driving arrests – it was one of the highest number of arrests over a weekend in several years, he said.

Leaving aside last weekend’s spike in drunk drivers, the intoxicated driving figures were on a par with last year, according to an analysis of crime statistics revealed at the Galway City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting on Monday.

Crime analyst, Olivia Maher said there were 35 intoxicated driving arrests in the three months to the end of March, which was the same as last year. That did not include last Sunday’s seven arrests.

Of the 35, at least 10 were drug driving or drink and drug driving, she said. Driving under the influence of drugs was rising, Ms Maher said.

A total of 109 MIT checkpoints had been carried out by Gardaí in the city, down by 14 compared with the same first quarter of last year. But she said there was no co-relation between MIT checkpoints and the level of drink driving detections.

That was because just 6% of all drink driving detections take place at Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints, according to Chief Supt Roche.

The remaining detections arise due to reports from the public of drink driving, road traffic collisions where those involved are tested, and detection by Gardaí outside of official checkpoints.

Ms Maher cited Road Safety Authority literature at the JPC which revealed one in ten drivers had admitted to driving while under the influence of an intoxicant.

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