As the Garda Christmas Enforcement Campaign continues, The AA is advising motorists not to become complacent over the New Year’s period.
Gardaí have said that they will be targeting intoxicated drivers by increasing the number of Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints.
“Road deaths have increased for the first time since 2005” says Conor Faughnan, Director of Consumer Affairs at The AA. “Alcohol is a contributing factor, especially at this time of year. We urge motorists not to get behind the wheel whilst drunk. Sadly, the reality is there will be a number of homes around the country where families will have to ring in the New Year with an empty place at the table.”
The AA is advising those going out this New Year’s Eve to plan their journey home in advance. In Dublin, the Nitelink will operate with a full service. Party-goers can also book a taxi in advance or organise a lift with a designated driver who will not be drinking alcohol. “If you’re the designated driver, one of the advantages of having car insurance with The AA is that you can get fully comprehensive insurance to drive other people’s cars” says Faughnan. “This can really help if you’re in the pub and one of your friends decides to have a drink and you stay off it, you can simply drive their car home.”
The motor insurers are also warning drivers to be careful about having that ‘one drink’ before starting their car. The maximum permitted level of alcohol in your blood is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres. “As a general rule, the body breaks down alcohol at a rate of one unit per hour but this isn’t scientific fact” advises Faughnan. “It depends on things like your age, gender, weight and metabolism.”
Motorists are also being reminded that the legal alcohol limit counts just as much in the morning as it does at night. It’s very important to remember on New Year’s Day that even though you may feel ok you could still be over the limit. Gardai regularly pull over drivers who do not realise that they are still above the limit after the night before.
“The best and most cost effective way to get around this New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day is to choose a designated driver but however you do travel, be sure to take care” says Faughnan. “No one wants to see the road fatality figures increase any further.”
Collisions do happen however and it’s very important to know that you’ll be well looked after if it happens to you. “The great thing about being insured with The AA is that not only will your car be taken to an approved garage but you will also [be offered] a courtesy car while your car is being fixed” says Faughnan.