KILKENNY Gardai will be introducing extra check points over the festive period in an attempt to discourage people from drinking and driving.
Gardai in Kilkenny have warned that since the introduction of the new drink driving limits in October there has been an increase in the number of people caught driving under the influence.
“The new legislation has resulted in a small increase in the number of detections. Hopefully there won’t be more detections over the Christmas period. The message is simple if you have had a drink don’t drive. With the new laws if you even have a single pint you can be over the limit,” said a spokesperson for Kilkenny Gardai.
The new limits recognise that there should be some graduation for motorists. As a result, a driver who is found to be between 50mg and 80mg will be arrested and brought to a Garda station in the normal way, where an evidential breath test will be carried out.
If confirmed to be over the limit, the driver will be given a fixed charge notice of €200 and three penalty points.
Any driver who gives a blood-alcohol concentration reading of 80mg-100mg will be given a fixed charge notice of €400 and be disqualified from driving for six months.
Motorists who test above 100mg will face an automatic court appearance, where they will receive a minimum ban from driving of 12 months.
A driver may also only avail of the fixed charge option once in a three-year period. They will face a court appearance if caught drink driving a second time within that period.
Figures available on the number of mandatory alcohol checkpoints have recently become available. The Carlow Kilkenny Garda division operate a relatively high number of checkpoints over the bank holiday weekends. The August bank holiday weekend saw 84 mandatory alcohol testing (MAT) checkpoints in operation. Over the June bank holiday weekend there were 82 MAT’s. In October there were 55 and on the May bank holiday weekend there were 43.