Gardaí to mount Electric Picnic checkpoints
Gardaí have warned people driving to and from the Electric Picnic that police will be checking for drunk and drug driving on roads leading to and from the event in Stradbally.
Gardaí expect many people will be travelling by car to and from the festival in Laois. They issued a statement in advance as a caution to concertgoers not to take risks. As well as drivers they urged people not to travel with somebody who they know is under the influence and who tries to drive.
"From a road safety perspective, our priority is to ensure that people who travel to the event are not put at risk by the minority of drivers who drive while under the influence of an intoxicant.
"Members of the Garda Roads Policing Unit will be conducting roadside screening at Mandatory Intoxicant Testing checkpoints on routes to and from Stradbally over the weekend. The roadside test for drugs has enabled members of the roads policing units to identify those drivers who are under the influence of drugs," said a statement.
Gardaí say they have the power to test drivers for the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates (e.g. morphine) and benzodiazepines (e.g. valium).
The police say cannabis has been the most common illegal drug detected in drivers in 2018. There has been a 15% increase in DUI arrests (alcohol or drugs) in first four months of 2019.
To date in 2019 a total of 95 people have died on the roads, which is four more than the same period in 2018.
Gardaí say the penalty for drug driving is the same as for drink driving – a maximum of €5,000 fine and up to six months imprisonment with disqualification periods of up to four years for a first offence and six years for a second or subsequent offence.
"Road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Don't get into a car with anyone who has been drinking and if possible stop them from driving. Plan for your journey home on Monday. If driving the morning after remember that 11% of fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol occurred between the hours of 7am and 11am.
"A general rule states that it takes an hour for the effects of half a pint (or a glass of wine) to wear off. It takes your body one hour to process one standard drink and there’s no quick fix. Common examples of one standard drink include a half pint of beer / glass of wine (100ml) / pub measure of spirits (35.5ml).
"There is nothing you can do to remove alcohol from your body any quicker, only time. Common myths are that drinking coffee or having a shower will sober you up but these are simply not true," said the statement.
An Garda Síochana encourages people to consider using public transport to attend the event. They say dedicated public transport routes along with an allocated drop off area close to the event entrance make this option an excellent alternative to using your car.
A dedicated traffic management plan is in place for the event. Gardaí ask that Picnickers abide by the directions outlined on local roads.