Just three drink driv­ing ar­rests on ‘the morn­ing af­ter’

The Kerryman (South Kerry Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - BY SINEAD KELLE­HER

IT has been a hot topic this Christ­mas but fig­ures pro­vided to The Ker­ry­man by gar­daí re­veal that only three driv­ers were ar­rested on sus­pi­cion of driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol the ‘morn­ing af­ter’.

There had been warn­ings na­tion­ally that gar­daí would crack down on driv­ers re­turn­ing to col­lect their cars af­ter a ‘heavy’ night out over the Christ­mas pe­riod with driv­ers be­ing bagged the morn­ing af­ter.

But just three driv­ers failed such tests in Kerry over the fes­tive sea­son.

THERE were just three ar­rests in­volv­ing driv­ers sus­pected of be­ing un­der the in­flu­ence the day af­ter a night out dur­ing the Christ­mas pe­riod in Kerry.

This low num­ber re­flects the mes­sage get­ting out to peo­ple not to drive the morn­ing af­ter a night out, ac­cord­ing to In­spec­tor Tony Su­grue of the Kerry Di­vi­sional Traf­fic Corp.

Fig­ures re­leased this week by Gar­daí show that 33 ar­rests for driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol were made dur­ing the en­tire month of De­cem­ber. Two of those ar­rested were later found not to be over the le­gal limit.

The fig­ure, though, is an in­crease on pre­vi­ous years, with 28 ar­rests made in De­cem­ber 2017 and 20 dur­ing the same month 2016.

“The statis­tics are go­ing the wrong way,” said In­spec­tor Tony Su­grue.

Most of the driv­ers de­tected were un­der 30 years of age, which is a star­tling statis­tic, gar­daí said.

“It is young peo­ple that are drink­ing and driv­ing. We are dis­ap­pointed with the re­sponse of young driv­ers,” added In­spec­tor Su­grue.

Among the youngest driv­ers de­tected driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol were a 17-year old and an 18-year old.

The ma­jor­ity of the 33 ar­rests were in the Tralee District, fol­lowed by Lis­towel and Kil­lar­ney Dis­tricts, and most took place in the main towns in the county rather than ru­ral ar­eas, as some might ex­pect.

In to­tal, 209 manda­tory check­points took place dur­ing the month of De­cem­ber, but in to­tal more than 500 check­points were un­der­taken by gar­daí. A to­tal of 729 driv­ers re­turned neg­a­tive re­sults dur­ing the manda­tory check­points, and four tested pos­i­tive for ei­ther al­co­hol or drugs. The re­main­der of the 33 ar­rests were made by gar­daí at other check­points or dur­ing rou­tine patrols. Gar­daí were also alerted by mem­bers of the pub­lic about drink-driv­ing in­ci­dents. The ma­jor­ity of driv­ers caught driv­ing with ex­cess al­co­hol were de­tected be­tween the hours of 2am and 4am, with only three de­tected in later morn­ing hours.

“The mes­sage is get­ting out about tak­ing care the morn­ing af­ter a night out and giv­ing your sys­tem a chance, which is re­flected in our num­bers.” In­spec­tor Su­grue said. He added that drug-driv­ing is on the in­crease and will be a fo­cus for gar­daí go­ing for­ward, as well as drink-driv­ing.

Fig­ures from the Kerry Di­vi­sional Traf­fic Corp also show that while road deaths de­creased in Kerry, there has been a 100 per cent in­crease in se­ri­ous road in­juries, a “mas­sive con­cern” for 2019, In­spec­tor Su­grue said. Four peo­ple died on Kerry roads last year, which is one of the best records in 30 years, but the in­crease in se­ri­ous in­juries in road ac­ci­dents is an is­sue that must be tack­led, he said.

In­spec­tor Tony Su­grue

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