Police said on Friday they would be launching a two-week islandwide clampdown on drink driving from December 8 to 21.
The first week of the campaign will be conducted in cooperation with the European Traffic Police Network TISPOL, which is coordinating similar campaigns all over Europe in the run-up to Christmas.
Police said they would be conducting “systematic and intensive” checks on drivers.
“The aim of the campaign is to prevent and avoid fatal and serious road traffic accidents,” police said in an announcement, adding that drink driving was the primary cause of fatal traffic collisions.
TISPOL President Aidan Reid said: “Driving after consuming any alcohol is dangerous. Driving while over the drink drive limit is against the law. Drivers will experience slower reactions, poor judgement of speed, reduced co-ordination and concentration with much lower levels of alcohol in their system.
“That’s why our message this year is simple: your ability to drive safely is impaired by even a small amount of alcohol. So if you have had a drink, do not drive. If you need to drive, then do not drink.”
Drivers can expect highly visible and widespread enforcement of alcohol and drug laws during the operation, at any location and at any time of day or night.
Reid says it was also important to be aware of the continuing effects of alcohol the day after an evening of drinking. “Your body takes time to remove alcohol from your system. If it is still present in your body, then it will be identified during a breath test. That’s why a night’s sleep is no guarantee that you’re safe and legal to drive the next morning,” he warns.
“If you have used recreational drugs, then do not drive. If you are taking medicine, whether prescribed or purchased over the counter, then read the notes of advice that go with it. If these tell you not to drive after taking the medicine, then do not drive. The advice is there for a reason, to keep you and others safe.”
“If you are in any doubt about medicines and driving, then our advice is to consult a healthcare professional before you get behind the wheel.”
During a similar week-long operation in December 2013, 1.1 million drivers were checked in 31 European countries. Officers reported 15,305 alcohol offences and 2,133 drug offences, as well as more than 2,500 other crimes.