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‘Alarmingly high’ number of arrests on roads this weekend

An “alarmingly high” number of people have been arrested under suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, according to a Roads Policing Unit inspector.

A total of 140 people have been arrested for drink or drug driving, according to figures from An Garda Síochána’s Roads Policing Unit.

Inspector Padraig Sutton from the Roads Policing Unit in Co Limerick said that in the last 24 hours, 45 people have been arrested nationally on suspicion of driving whilst intoxicated whether that be drink or drugs, or both.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Inspector Sutton said that this weekend and since the commencement of the operation on Thursday, “140 drivers have been arrested under suspicion of driving whilst intoxicated”.

“An alarmingly high number for us, and it also sends that message we [gardaí] are out there,” he said.

“Roads policing units, community policing units, our colleagues in crime functional areas; we are out there tackling this serious, serious problem and doing our best to reduce these numbers.”

He added there had been a considerable rise in the number of deaths in incidents on Irish roads compared to the same period last year.

“It’s a trend which is a real concern for me and for my officers here in roads policing and community engagement units and it’s something we’re doing everything we can to reverse,” Inspector Sutton said.

“Our ability to detect drug drivers – the equipment we use now and the advancement of technology – it’s very easy now.

“It’s like a Covid test that you do at roadside and because it’s small, it’s a unit any [garda] can have, we can do these drug tests across the organisation now, whereas previously there was a fairly bulky machine that was required to be in certain vehicles at certain times,” he said.

As the garda’s Easter road safety campaign draws to a close, Inspector Sutton appealed to the road users to drive safely this afternoon as 3pm to 6pm is a “high-risk time” on Irish roads, according to garda statistics.

“We’re appealing to drivers, appealing to motorcyclists, think about what you’re doing today,” he added.

“A car weighs, the majority of the time, in excess of a tonne. You’re driving a piece of equipment that weighs more than a tonne and you have huge responsibility.

“Motorcyclists, get that high-visibility gear on you to improve the chances of a driver seeing you when you’re on your motorbike.

“Pedestrians, when you’re out walking is the road suitable for where you’re out walking and are you wearing hi-vis? Cyclists, the same, helmets and high-visibility gear and think about where you choose to cycle your bicycle,” Inspector Sutton said.

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