An Garda Síochána has again warned the public against drinking and driving at a time of rising road deaths in Ireland, as experts warn that “the effects of alcohol on driving can linger long after a night out”.
The Road Safety Administration (RSA) has expressed deep concern at the number of road fatalities this year.
Gardaí say drunk driving is a major factor in accidents resulting in death and serious injury on our roads.
A standard drink is enough to put someone in danger of exceeding the limit, which includes a glass (half pint) of beer, a small glass of wine (100ml) or a pub liter of spirits (35.5ml).
According to the HSE, it takes most people one to two hours to process a standard drink, and after you stop drinking, the alcohol levels in your system can continue to build up for up to three hours.
There are many factors that affect this time, including age, gender, weight, alcohol content, the speed of your metabolism, and the number of drinks consumed.
If a person had their last drink at midnight and downed three pints of lager or stout, the equivalent of six standard drinks, they could expect to be driving under the legal limit at 6am the next morning.
If another person had four glasses of wine and finished drinking by 11 p.m., that equates to eight standard drinks.
The person could expect to be below the legal limit of 50mg by 7am the next morning.
There is nothing you can do to help remove alcohol from your body faster than time.
Common myths are that drinking coffee, showering, a hearty breakfast or jogging will sober you up, but they are not true.
Almost half of all arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) occur between midnight and 6 a.m. One in 10 DUI arrests is made between 8am and 2pm, with a peak on Sundays.
Checkpoints will continue to take place to discourage people from driving under the influence across the country.
A Garda spokesman said: Irish Independent: “An Garda Síochána appeals to the public never to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
“Drunk driving, inappropriate and excessive speeding, failure to wear seatbelts and distracted driving with cell phones remain the top four offences.”
The legal limit for experienced drivers is a blood alcohol level of 50 mg.
The limit is lower for learner drivers and professional drivers, with a blood alcohol level of 20 mg per 100 ml of blood.
A driver who exceeds the limit – whether learner, beginner or professional – is automatically banned from driving for three months and has to pay a fine of €200.
A garda spokesman added: “Every traffic fatality is a tragedy.
“If you drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, not only do you risk losing your driver’s license, you also risk causing a collision, injury and death ruining the lives of survivors, families and friends.
“Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”
Road safety experts from AA Ireland warn drivers of the dangers of drinking and driving.
AA Ireland spokeswoman Anna Cullen said: “As the weather hopefully improves over the next few weeks there may be more people out and about.
“The effects of alcohol on driving can linger long after a long night.
“So if you have been drinking it is vitally important that you do not get behind the wheel of a car until it is safe to do so.”
The Gardaí carry out roadside alcohol tests and it is a criminal offense not to be tested.
Drinkaware CEO Sheena Horgan said it is crucial that people understand how long it takes their bodies to process alcohol to prevent accidents on our roads and to protect themselves and others.
Sheena added: “People want to do the right thing and are aware that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, but without the knowledge of what a standard drink is, people may not be aware of how long it could take for that to happen they processed the alcohol they consumed.”
The RSA is investigating a “ban” mechanism for high-risk drunk offenders.
It has a working group looking into this, which means a person would have to breathe into a contraption to start a car.
An RSA spokesman said: Irish Independent: “As part of the new road safety strategy, (this) is one of the most important measures.
“A working group will be set up to make recommendations for the implementation of an alcohol interlock programme, supported by an alcohol rehabilitation course in Ireland, for high-risk drunk offenders.
“This is below for Q4 2022.”
To date, in 2022, 86 people have died tragically on our roads.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/explainer-as-gardai-issue-new-safety-warning-how-soon-can-you-drive-after-drinking-alcohol-41822677.html Explainer: With Gardaí issuing a new safety alert, how fast can you drive after drinking alcohol?