Grim Easter drunk driving figures in Latvia

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During the four Easter holidays, 78 intoxicated drivers were caught behind the wheel, State Police Traffic safety board deputy chief Artūrs Smilga told Latvian Television on April 11.

70 of those were drunk drivers and 8 were under the influence of narcotics.

Over 40 drunk drivers were caught in the Rīga region alone.

On the first raid of Monday morning, two were caught within an hour. While LTV was conducting an interview with Deputy Commander Raivo Oņegins of the State Police's Road Police Battalion 4, his colleagues took away someone whose journey was over.

“Unfortunately, the driver [..]  had 0.58 permille in the first test. Most likely the person has finished drinking alcohol at night and has been driving in the morning for some reason,” the policeman said.

In 15 minutes, the repeated test showed 0.6 permille. Such an infringement would end in administrative liability. But after a moment it turned out it's not all.

"The driver did not have a driver's license and was behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. And in this case, criminal proceedings will be initiated against the person. The person will be taken to Gaujas Street 15 to the investigator and then placed in the isolator. The vehicle is not theirs, so it will not be seized,” Oņegins said.

Less than 20 minutes later, a van with young athletes was stopped in the same place. It has traveled nearly 100 kilometers this morning. The driver is intoxicated at 0.57 permille.

Most drunk drivers were caught in Rīga, which is also linked to the fact that Rīga has more vehicles and more traffic, said Artūrs Smilga. Overall, he indicated the statistics were not really improving, as last year 79 drunk drivers were caught over Easter holidays. There was a slight decrease in those intoxicated heavily, or above 1.5 permille where criminal liability is applied. Last year, over half of the drunk drivers were under heavy intoxication, while this year it was 30 out of the 70 drunk drivers.

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