DUBLIN, Ireland - Over the 3-day holiday weekend, 16-18 March 2019, four people died in road traffic collisions in Ireland.
The latest deaths brought the total who have died on Irish roads so far this year to 39 - nine road deaths, or 30%, more than the same period last year.
The spike in deaths is causing great concern to An Garda Síochána, the RSA and other road safety stakeholders.
In addition, over the bank holiday/St Patrick's weekend, there were 164 drivers arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving.
11 arrests were between 8am and 11am
74 were on St. Patricks Day itself.
"Four people tragically lost their lives on the roads this bank holiday weekend. It has been 4 years since this number of people lost their lives. Compared to this date last year, there are now 9 more people who have died on Irish roads. This is very concerning. We must all re-double our efforts to act responsibly and keep the roads safe. I appeal to every road user to concentrate 100% no matter how they use the roads. Mistakes cost lives," Chief Superintendent Paul Cleary, Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said Tuesday.
"In advance of the bank holiday weekend, we widely advertised that we would be out on the roads around the country conducting checkpoints. My thanks go to all those who came through our checkpoints and were driving safely. There were however, many drivers who were not compliant. There were 164 drivers arrested on suspicion of intoxicated driving in the 3-day period. Eleven were the morning after, between 8am and 11am. 74 on St Patricks day itself. We will continue to target these irresponsible drivers who put themselves and all other road users at risk. We are committed to making the roads as safe as they should be," Cleary added.
Figures released from the Gardai also show that there has been a 17% increase in the number of arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs in the first two months of 2019 compared to the same period last year. To date 1,429 drivers have been arrested from 1 January to 28 February.
The Medical Bureau of Road Safety, which analyses the blood and urine specimens of drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence for the presence of alcohol and drugs, has also reported an increase in the number of specimens being sent for analysis to date this year.
"The Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána have been warning of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs for many years but some motorists continue to ignore them. The introduction of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 has increased the penalties for drink driving at lower levels. These penalties apply at any time. Drink driving is drink driving whether it is at midnight or midday and any drink drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration between 50mg and 80mg now face losing their licence for three months. The aim of road safety legislation is to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads," Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Shane Ross said last week.