The number of drivers detected for drink driving in Donegal has more than doubled in the first 16 days of December compared to the same period last year, the Donegal Democrat can reveal.
The shocking figures come despite a hard-hitting television campaign by the Road Safety Authority and local appeals by gardaí and road safety groups.
The Christmas drink driving campaign began on December 1st. While unable to supply figures, gardaí here say the number of drivers detected across the county has more than doubled compared to the first 16 days of last December.
The detections have come all over the county, with motorists found over the legal limit at checkpoints in Bundoran, Donegal Town, Glenties, Lifford, Buncrana and Letterkenny.
The increase of detections in the Donegal Garda division compares to an national increase of 25 per cent.
Donegal Garda Traffic Corps inspector Michael Harrison said he was stunned by the figures.
He said with increased resources dedicated to the drink driving campaign, drivers who drink and drive are running a higher risk of getting caught. The high number of detections raised concern about the actual number of people drink driving.
“I am stunned that after 16 days the number of people caught drink driving is more than double the same period last year,” he said. “It is unbelievable. I am shocked that people are taking the chance all over the county.”
He said the increase comes despite the decrease in Garda resources in the county in recent years.
“If we are catching increased numbers of drink drivers with reduced resources, what is the real number?
“There has been and there will be extra resources deployed. Yet in spite of the campaign in the press locally and nationally, people are just ignoring it. The consequences for them are quite serious for people if they are disqualified in terms of their employment. But of course they are also putting their own lives and other people’s lives in danger.”
Nationally, the first two weeks of this anti-drink driving campaign have seen 341 drivers detected for drink driving, an increase of 89 on the same period last year.