Gardaí warning on early-morning checkpoints

The Gardaí started their Christmas drink-driving campaign on Tuesday, with a very clear message: “We will be out there and we will catch people.”

  Sgt. Aidan O’Brien, of the traffic unit at Roscommon Garda Station, said the clampdown would include checkpoints throughout county, and would continue until January 5.

  He said: “It involves mandatory checkpoints, with a concentration on early mornings. It involves a number of high-visibility speedchecks on all of the national primary routes throughout the month.

  “We are also doing a number of operations in town and villages. This is where we would put two or three checkpoints around the village.”

  The permitted level of alcohol for driving has decreased significantly in recent years, down to its current rate of virtually nil.

  The detection rate generally goes up every year, said Sgt. O’Brien. In all of 2014, there were 79 drink-driving offences recorded in Co. Roscommon.

  “The Christmas detection rate never seems to go down that much,” he said. “We will be out there and we will catch people.

  “The advice to motorists is to slow down, never drink and drive. Always wear your safety belt. Never use any kind of electronic device in the car that would distract you from driving, i.e. mobiles, iPads, etc.” Christmas parties will be held frequently in the coming weeks, but Gardaí have encouraged people not to drive the following morning.

  “We will have an emphasis on early-morning checkpoints,” said Sgt. O’Brien. “It catches a lot of people.

  “About 18 per cent of drink-driving checkpoints are the following morning. If you are going to drive the next morning, don’t drink the night before.”

  Local Gardai are wishing everyone in Roscommon a happy, safe and peaceful Christmas.