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Tommy Bowe urges drivers to kick drink driving to touch this St. Patrick’s Weekend

Drink driving 15.03.2023

Former Irish International rugby legend and TV presenter Tommy Bowe is calling on motorists, but particularly younger drivers, to kick drink driving to touch this St. Patrick’s Weekend and to never, ever drink and drive.

To drive home the message that drinking and driving simply do not mix, Tommy teamed up with secondary students from St. David’s C.B.S, Artane to show through fun and educational demonstrations the dangers of drinking and driving.

This included Tommy and students donning ‘beer goggles’, which imitate the impairment effects of alcohol, and negotiating an obstacle course in pedal ‘go-karts’. This and other demonstrations, which will be promoted across the Road Safety Authority’s (RSA) and An Garda Síochána’s social media platforms, will be a fun and educational way to show how basic tasks are not so simple to do, while under the influence of alcohol.

Speaking about his involvement in promoting road safety ahead of the St. Patrick’s weekend, Tommy Bowe, said, “I am delighted to team up with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána to promote road safety over the St. Patrick’s weekend. Today I was able to experience first-hand, in a safe and controlled space, the impairment effects of alcohol on driving. It was very sobering. Any amount of alcohol can impair driving so it’s just not worth the risk. If you are planning to drink over the St. Patrick’s weekend, leave the keys at home and plan how you are going to get home safely. Designate a driver, hire a minibus if heading out with a group of friends, use a taxi, hackney, or public transport if available. Remember to do the right thing the next morning too, as you may still have alcohol in your body, making you unsafe to drive.”

Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority, said: “There is a particular need for younger people to make good choices when using the roads this weekend, including avoiding driving while impaired, through drink or drugs or a combination of both. Figures for 2023 to date indicate that 50% of fatalities are 35 years of age or younger. For the whole of last year, this age group accounted for 32% of fatalities.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement said, “There were 72 drivers arrested for drink driving and 33 arrested for drug driving over the St. Patrick’s weekend in 2022. The consequences of choosing to drink and drive are stark. You could cause a collision, you could cause a fatality and you could cause your own disqualification as a driver. All drink driving offences carry a period of disqualification.

Think what this could mean for you for your job and lifestyle. Think about what it could mean to carry the burden of causing another person to lose their life.”

Key drink driving statistics:

  • In the last 5 years, 11 people have been killed and 55 people have been seriously injured on our roads over the St. Patrick’s Bank holiday period.
  • 37% of driver fatalities (2015-2019) with a toxicology result available had a positive toxicology for alcohol*.
  • Research published by the RSA in 2022 showed that 1 in 4 motorists (26%) admitted ‘there were times when they may have been over the limit when driving the morning after a night out’.
  • Figures released by An Garda Síochána show that Year-to-date in 2023: 937 Drink-Driving and 584 Drug-Driving arrests have been made.
  • Total detections for intoxicated driving over four day period 17-21 March 2022 - 72 drink driving arrests and 33 drug driving arrests.
  • Morning after detections for intoxicated driving (drink/drug driving) over the St. Patrick’s Day period in 2022 - 34 arrests from 6.00 a.m. to 12 noon.

Editors Notes

Table 1. Number of road fatalities and serious injuries over the St. Patrick’s period 2018 to 2022

 Fatalities 16/3-18/3 Serious injuries 16/3-18/3
2018 1 6
2019 4 15
2020 3 6
2021 1 8
2022* 2 20

* Note: 2019 - 2022 data is provisional and subject to change

Table 2

Data relating to the number of arrests for driving under the influence over previous St. Patrick’s weekends and to date this year, compiled by GSAS.   

 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Drink-Driving 101 130 108 32 52 72
Drug-Driving 7 12 21 22 46 33