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Drug-driving rates up as Gardaí begin Christmas road safety plans

An Garda Síochána and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have launched the annual Christmas and New Year Road Safety campaign, which will primarily focus on mandatory intoxicant testing – detecting those who drive having consumed alcohol or drugs.

The campaign commenced last weekend, during which Gardaí say it detected 26 people driving under the influence of drugs and 85 driving under the influence of alcohol.

Gardaí say a total of 2,537 people have been detected driving under the influence of drugs to date in 2020. This is up 133 per cent on the same period in 2019 (1,192).

As part of the Christmas and New Year Safety campaign, which runs until January 5, An Garda Síochána says it will also conduct ‘National Slow Down Day’ on December 11-12 to detect those speeding.

Despite a significant reduction in traffic levels this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, Gardaí say speed detections have increased 26 per cent to date in 2020 (119,673 to 151,055).

To date, 136 people have lost their lives on Irish roads in 2020. This is up six per cent (128) on the same period last year, according to Garda figures.

National travel restrictions are expected to be lifted from Friday, December 18, which will see a heavy increase in traffic levels.

An Garda Síochána is urging road users to remember the basics of road safety, and to not drive if you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both.