According to an upcoming Behaviour and Attitudes survey by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), drivers are still taking chances on the roads as there is a perception that there is not enough garda enforcement.
Chief executive of the RSA, Moyah Murdock said around 8% of drivers still admit to drinking and driving.
“We are in the process of completing our most recent Behaviour and Attitudes study and when we surveyed people out there, there is, unfortunately, still a perception that there isn’t enough garda enforcement and people as a consequence will take chances.
“Some 8% of drivers that we surveyed are still admitting to drink driving so that also confirms our concerns that people readily admit to drinking and driving to an unacceptable level,” she told RTÉ.
Ms Murdock said evidence was also emerging that younger drivers are increasingly willing to drink and drive.
“It’s a myth that younger people are not doing this and our survey would indicate that there has been a significant increase in the number of young people under the age of 25 who admit to drinking and driving.”
“Figures that we have from the gardaí themselves also confirm the under 30s, both male and female, are taking chances and drinking and driving. So we are trying to get the message out there for people to be under no illusion, if you do do this, you will be caught,” she said.
Road collision figures from the RSA show that between 2009 and 2015, 17 people were killed and 47 seriously injured in crashes over the Easter Bank Holiday period.
Ms Murdock said the RSA and the gardaí were determined to dispel the myth that if you take risks on the road, you can get away with it.
“It’s a reality that the numbers in the traffic corps have reduced from around 1,200 to 700 now but the reality is, on this weekend in particular, there will be a major operation to ensure that that perception is dispelled. Operation Lockdown and Surround will be in place this weekend to ensure that all drivers will behave and not take the chances that we are seeing,” she said.
Meanwhile, clerics in Co Mayo will bless all the county’s roads this weekend in a ceremony aimed at increasing road safety awareness.
The blessing ceremony will take place in most parishes and services across the county on Easter Sunday.
Some priests will carry out the ceremony from the road-side while others will do it from the altar.
The event is being promoted by Mayo County Council and supported by the emergency services.
The council’s road safety officer Noel Gibbons said: “There are still too many drivers under the impression that an accident won’t happen to them.”
He said 13 people died on Mayo roads last year with one death recorded for 2016.