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137 arrests for driving under influence over Bank Holiday

More than 130 motorists have been arrested so far this Bank Holiday weekend for driving under the influence of an intoxicant.

Drug and alcohol testing on drivers is being carried out at garda checkpoints around the country since 7am on Thursday as part of An Garda Síochana’s Bank Holiday Road Safety plan.

Superintendent Liam Geraghty said it has been “very busy operation”, and that as of 7am this morning, 137 arrests were made for driving under the influence.

A new provision in the Road Traffic Act that will make drug testing mandatory for any driver involved in a serious collision or crash also came into effect on Friday.

Supt Geraghty said gardaí “consistently focus” on speed during enforcement campaigns, adding that two of the notable speeding detections this weekend were a motorcyclist travelling at 146km/h in an 80km/h zone in Co Wicklow and another vehicle detected at 190km/h in a 100km/h zone on the N4 in Mullingar.

“These sort of speeds are completely unacceptable on our roads,” said Supt Geraghty.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said: “It is better to arrive home a little bit later and safely, than to not arrive home at all.”

“We would also just appeal to people that, even within the speed limit, to slow their speed down and moderate their speed a little bit,” he said.

“The main problem with speed is if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road traffic collision, the higher the speed you’re travelling at, the greater the impact of that road traffic collision and the greater the possibility of death or serious injury.”

Meanwhile, a system that will allow the public upload video evidence, including that of dangerous driving caught by road users, to garda systems could be in place within the next two years.

A digital evidence management system is being introduced by An Garda Síochána to deal with incoming video as part of the launch of body-worn cameras by gardaí, and will be later extended to other video footage.

The system will be rolled out to the public in “18 months to 24 months” time so that they can upload material and was something gardaí had “been looking at for a while” in terms of the road safety strategy, said Supt Geraghty.

“We will be extending that system to allow members of the public to provide us with video footage that they may have retrieved. That’s not just in terms of road safety and driving on the road, but also in terms of our appeals for people with dashcam footage or video footage in terms of major crimes,” he said.

The digital evidence management system is part of the body-worn camera launch

Supt Geraghty said it will make it easier for gardaí to investigate reports of dangerous or reckless driving and could be used as evidence in court.

“When that rolls out, people will be able to upload footage, but we will still require the people who are uploading that footage to make a statement to prove the authenticity of the footage.

“But it will make the system far easier for us to get that footage from other drivers on the road who have complaints about the driving of other people, to make that complaint to us and allow us then to investigate it properly.”


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