VIDEO: Border crackdown on drink driving this Christmas

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The Gardai and PSNI plan to establish joint checkpoints along the Derry-Donegal border over the festive period in a crackdown on drink driving and other offences.

A number of checkpoints will operate across the Christmas and New Year holidays,

CHRISTMAS - DON'T DRINK DRIVE!. . . . Garda Pat Geraghty and PSNI Constable Dee Blair check traffic during yesterday's joint Gardai/PSNI Christmas Drink Drive launch at the border in Bridgend. The warning from both jurisdictions is don't drink and drive this festive season. DER5114MC012 (Photo: Jim McCafferty)

CHRISTMAS - DON'T DRINK DRIVE!. . . . Garda Pat Geraghty and PSNI Constable Dee Blair check traffic during yesterday's joint Gardai/PSNI Christmas Drink Drive launch at the border in Bridgend. The warning from both jurisdictions is don't drink and drive this festive season. DER5114MC012 (Photo: Jim McCafferty)

The warning to local drivers was issued as around a dozen officers from each police force set up mirrored check points on the main Buncrana Road at Bridgend on Tuesday afternoon to mark the launch of a 2014 campaign.

They were joined at the scene by representatives from the Foyle & District Road Safety Committee.

Speaking at the scene, An Gardai Siochana Inspector Michael Harrison said: “The reason we are here today is for the joint Christmas road safety message. It is a message that ourselves in Donegal and the PSNI in Derry have been doing for a number of years. It really is to encourage the users on both sides of the border to drive safely over the Christmas period and particularly not to be drinking and driving.

“The main causes of traffic collisions are drink driving, speeding, not wearing their seat belts. One that is becoming more common is distraction driving, people who are using mobile phones; they become fatigues, or for other reasons- they are the main causes.

“We are asking the road users on both sides of the border, whether you are driving in Derry or driving in Donegal, to observe the rules of the road, watch out for other users of the road, particularly pedestrians on these dark evenings.”

Insp. Harrison also warned: “We will with the PSNI and ourselves be mounting a number of cross-border operations over the Christmas period to detect errant road users.”

PSNI Roads Policing Inspector Steve Haslett meanwhile said: “There have been 76 people already killed in Northern Ireland’s roads this year, that is 20 more than the same period last year.

“Statistically we are finding about 24 deaths on average each year and 603 injuries that are as a result of drink driving offences.

“So today is about reinforcing the road safety message- the general message in relation to wearing your seat belt, not driving too fast and being responsible behind the wheel of a car, and when it comes to drinking, do not drive and drink.”

Davy Jackson, chairman of the Foyle & District Road Safety Committee, said: “It is important people are careful.

“If they are drinking we would advise them not to drive, and if they are driving we would advise them not to drink, particularly the morning after. A lot of people think they are OK but it takes a long time for alcohol to leave the system, so we would tell people to be especially careful the morning after.”