Gardaí have issued an appeal to the public to be extra careful on the roads during the festive period as it was revealed more than 140 people died on Irish roads so far this year.
As part of the Christmas and New Year road safety campaign, gardaí will particularly target drivers who are under the influence of alcohol and the injuries or fatalities it could cause.
So far in 2022, 148 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 25 on this date last year. There have also been more than 1,120 collisions which caused "serious injury".
The new campaign also revealed that between midday and 9pm is the highest risk time for fatal or serious road traffic collision during the Christmas period, with 55% of incidents taking place within those hours.
Some 21% of the collisions happened between 3pm and 6pm, while the risk of an incident is highest on the Sunday of the Christmas period, gardaí say.
They will be targeting the four "Lifesaver" offences this Christmas: intoxicated driving; speeding; use of mobile phones and seatbelt offences.
From January 1, 2022, to date:
- 156,560 drivers have been detected for travelling in excess of a speed limit
- 17,567 drivers were detected for the offence of using their mobile phone while driving
- 5,664 seatbelt offences were detected
- 7,605 people have been arrested on suspicion of drink/drug-driving
In the seven days since the campaign was launched, 144 people have been caught driving under the influence, with 35 arrested on suspicion of drug driving.
70 motorists were found to be committing seatbelt offences, while 216 drivers were caught using their mobile phone at the wheel. Over 3,700 drivers were found to be speeding.
Speaking today, Inspector Ross O’Doherty of the Garda National Roads Policing Bureau said: "The Christmas period is one of the busiest on Ireland’s roads. Our operational activity over the past seven days indicates to us that drivers need to be much more mindful of the offences which so often lead to fatal or near-fatal road traffic collisions.
"The number of people that have already lost their lives on Irish roads this year is a cause for concern – Gardaí are out on duty every day enforcing Road Traffic legislation in order to ensure that we do not lose any more lives. Motorists and all road users can help us reduce these stark statistics. Please be mindful of how easily collisions can happen.
"We are urging all road users and motorists in particular to pay even greater attention to driving conditions over the coming weekend, as temperatures take a sharp dip and the roads become more difficult to navigate.”