Irish drivers are taking risks with ‘morning after’ driving when they may still be over the drink-drive limit.
The human body processes alcohol at, on average, one unit per hour, so if you’ve had several drinks the previous night, you may still be over the drink-drive limit the following morning.
According to a survey by the AA, which quizzed 5,000 Irish drivers, one in ten are gambling with the limit the morning after a night out, and driving when they may still be on the wrong side of the law. Three per cent said that they had accepted a lift from someone they suspected was still over the limit.
“Many people associate drink-driving with this idea that someone goes on a night out, drinks alcohol and then drives home. But, people might get up for work early the next morning and think they are okay to drive a vehicle, when they more than likely are not. They are not aware of the dangers posed by driving the next day while still over the limit,” says Anna Cullen from AA Ireland.
“Everyone breaks down alcohol differently and the time to bring you back under the legal blood alcohol limit will vary. Nothing will help you process the alcohol faster, only time. Our advice is simple: if you feel hungover, do not get behind the wheel. Wait or use alternative transport.”
According to An Garda Síochána, drink-driving, in spite of decades of campaigns and stricter limits, is still rife in Ireland.
Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said that over the Christmas and New Year period: “Gardaí arrested 914 drivers for Driving While Intoxicated, approximately one in five drug driving arrests occurred between 6am and 1pm. Some 35 Drink and Drug Driving incidents occurred on New Year’s Day, 12 of the incidents occurred between 6am-1pm, that’s a poor start to 2022 for some drivers.
"These ongoing detections demonstrate that some road users continue to ignore road safety advice putting themselves and other road users at risk. I would appeal to all road users to modify their behaviour, to heed road safety advice in order to reduce collisions, avoid unnecessary deaths and to ensure that our roads are safer in 2022. Gardaí undertook 15,759 breath tests at 5,681 checkpoints over the Christmas period. We are playing our part, and ask all road users to play theirs.”
Sam Waide, chief executive of the Road Safety Authority (RSA) said: "It is astonishing to see the numbers of those who persist to drink and drug drive, as it significantly increases the risk of a fatal collision. I am asking those people who continue to break the rules to reconsider your behaviour, as there is a high likelihood you will be caught, face the prospect of being fined, receive penalty points, or lose your licence.”
The RSA had put forward a proposal that drivers disqualified by the courts would have their identities published on a publicly available list, much in the manner that the Revenue Commissioners publish the details of tax defaulters.
That RSA’s own research indicated that there was little public support for such an idea, but the AA suggests otherwise.
According to the AA’s survey, 42 per cent of respondents ‘strongly supported’ the idea of such a list, while only five per cent were absolutely against it.
The efficacy of such publication was thrown into doubt though, as 69 per cent of those responding to the AA said that such a list would not change their behaviour ‘as they never drink and drive anyway’.
The proposal being put forward to the Government for its new road safety strategy is to have a published list of disqualified commercial vehicle drivers, which would be accessible by employers.