Festival safety takes a new turn as authorities remind attendees of the risks of driving under the influence

With Electric Picnic 2023 just around the corner, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána (AGS) are partnering up to issue important safety messages to all festival-goers. As over 70,000 attendees flock to Stradbally, Co. Laois, this weekend, safety remains the top priority, especially on the roads.

Risks on the Road

The RSA and An Garda Síochána are especially keen on reducing the alarming statistics related to driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Festival-goers should take note: 11% of fatal collisions where a driver had consumed alcohol occurred between the hours of 7am and 11am. Motorists are strongly advised against getting behind the wheel until they are fully fit to do so.

Precautions to Take

Attendees are urged to opt for alternative travel solutions such as public transportation, taxis, or lifts from friends and family. With dedicated transport routes and drop-off areas, there’s little reason to risk one’s life and that of others by driving under influence.

Mandatory Rules and Checkpoints

AGS will implement a robust Traffic Management Plan, and drivers should be prepared for Mandatory Intoxicant Testing (MIT) at various checkpoints. Penalties for breaking the law are steep: a maximum fine of €5,000, up to six months in prison, and long-term driving disqualification.

Changes in Festival Timings

Taking the matter seriously, the Portlaoise Court has adjusted the festival timings this year. The bars will close an hour earlier on Sunday, and the car parks will stay open until 4pm on Monday, three hours longer than before, to give attendees enough time to sober up before driving.

Words from Authorities

Mr Sam Waide, Chief Executive of the RSA, stresses that while Electric Picnic promises to be an exciting event, attendees must think responsibly when planning their travel. Chief Superintendent Anthony Lonergan of the Laois Offaly Kildare Division added that road safety is a priority and measures are in place to catch those who break the law.

Professor Denis Cusack, Director of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), highlighted that alcohol and drug-related driving remains a significant problem, not just for festival-goers, but for all road users.

Final Thoughts

As Electric Picnic 2023 rolls out the red carpet for music lovers and festival aficionados, it’s crucial to remember that the fun shouldn’t come at the expense of road safety. Drive responsibly and make this festival a memorable experience for all the right reasons.