Europe-wide crackdown on drink and drug-driving

Police departments across Europe have announced a continent-wide crackdown on driving under the influence of drink and drugs in the run-up to Christmas.

The campaign, which will start next Monday, is co-ordinated by the European Traffic Police Network, and involves officers conducting alcohol and drug checks at any time of the day and night.

The network’s campaign comes a week after the Government launched its roadside impairment testing, which aims to provide gardaí with additional powers to test drivers whom they suspect of driving under the influence of drugs.

During a similar week-long operation in December 2013, 1.1 million drivers were checked across 31 European countries. Officers reported 15,305 alcohol offences and 2,133 drug offences, as well as more than 2,500 other crimes.

The network’s president is Garda Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid, who warned that driving after consuming any alcohol is dangerous.

“Driving while over the drink-drive limit is against the law.

“Drivers will experience slower reactions, poor judgment of speed, reduced co-ordination and concentration with much lower levels of alcohol in their system. That’s why our message this year is simple: your ability to drive safely is impaired by even a small amount of alcohol.

“So if you have had a drink, do not drive. If you need to drive, then do not drink,” he said.

The network said drivers can expect highly visible and widespread enforcement of alcohol and drug laws during the operation, at any location and at any time of day or night.

Meanwhile, a new law for drivers in Scotland reduces the legal alcohol limit from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood, making it lower than the drink driving limits in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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