Police: Drunk driver numbers over Midsummer 'unforgivably high'

Compared to the previous year's Jāņi holiday, the traffic situation has improved slightly, but the number of drunk drivers caught is still unforgivably high, Arturs Smilga, deputy chief of the State Police Transport Safety Administration, told Latvian Radio June 26.

42 drunk drivers were caught over the two-day holiday period, 26 of whom were classed as being under heavy intoxication (exceeding 1.5 promilles), and therefore criminal proceedings have been initiated.

Last year the statistics were compiled over four days, June 23 to 26, during which 105 drunk drivers were caught.

Meanwhile, Juris Jančevskis, chief of the State Police Transport Safety Administration, said in the Latvian Television broadcast “Morning Panorama” on the past holiday of Latvia: “The initial data shows that the figures are slightly better than in the previous year, but there is still a large number of detained drivers.”

On June 23, the largest number of drunk drivers was in the region of Rīga, but on June 24 it was in the Zemgale region, Jančevskis reported.

In one case, a drunk driver caused a fatal road accident.

Other emergency services were also kept busy over the Midsumer holidays. According to the State Fire and Resue Service (VUGD) from June 22  until the morning of June 26, they received 312 calls - 133 for extinguishing fires, including nine for extinguishing forest fires, 77 for rescue work, and 102 false alarms or fake calls.

As well as dousing fires, VUGD staff found someone lost in the forest in Ogre district, rescued people from a capsized boat in the sea at Ainaži, recovered dead bodies from several inland bodies of water and freed people trapped as a result of car wrecks.

A large number of fire alerts received on Midsummer Eve turned out to be false alarms.

"On the evening of Līgo, several misleading calls were received – 50 calls, of which 27 were related to the fact that residents, seeing smoke or the reflection of flames from Jāņi bonfires, thought that a fire had broken out, so they called the firefighters and rescuers. Arriving at the scene, firefighters and rescuers found that residents had lit a fire and there was no danger," said the VUGD.

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