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Irish clampdown halts drink-drivers

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Irish forces caught as many as 230 drivers and motorcyclists during the first two weeks of the winter anti-drink driving campaign - a 15% year-on-year rise.

Figures show that six people were detected at four times the legal limit, while one person was four-and-a-half times over. The surge in numbers has also brought to light the risks of being caught driving without valid vehicle insurance.

The youngest person caught was 16-years-old and the oldest, 73. The average age of people to fail the breath test is 36, and to date, 199 men and 31 women have been detected. 

Chief inspector Diane Pennington said: "These early figures indicate that despite our warnings, there is still a minority of people who completely disregard the safety of themselves and others by continuing this shameful and incredibly dangerous practice.

"Drinking and driving kills, maims and wrecks families. Police will not tolerate people who insist on driving after having taken drugs or drink."

Around 108 people have already been killed this year in collisions on roads across Northern Ireland - one more than the overall total for 2008.

Ms Pennington added: "Words alone cannot describe the sights and sounds of the serious road traffic collisions which police officers and our colleagues in the emergency services attend. Bodies broken, lives shattered.

 "I do not want officers knocking on doors at any time of the year, but especially over Christmas and the New Year, to tell families that a loved one has been killed on the roads."

© Press Association 2009