The Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána have launched their Christmas and New Year campaign aimed at limiting the amount of road traffic accidents on Irish roads over the holiday period and highlighting the risk drink drivers take when getting behind the wheel.

A ‘Crashed Lives’ advert will air across media platforms over the Christmas period, and includes the retelling of the tragic car crash that resulted in the death of four-year-old Ciarán Treacy in 2014.

Ciarán was killed when the car he was travelling in with his mother Gillian and brother Seán was hit by a drunk-driver, while Gillian was left with devastating injuries. The ad features home videos of Ciarán playing with his brother and sister in the garden and laughing and smiling in the car.

There are stories from parents Gillian and Ronan, as well as garda personnel, paramedics and nurses who fought to save Ciarán’s life. The message behind the ‘Crashed Lives’ campaign is that drink driving destroys lives, families and communities.

As the festive season approaches, the RSA and An Garda Síochána have issued a stark warning to road-users about the consequences of drink-driving. Earlier this year, the RSA’s Pre-Crash Report on Alcohol, which examined Garda forensic investigation files into fatal crashes between 2008 and 2012, showed that alcohol was a factor in 38 per cent of all fatal collisions (driver, passenger, pedestrian, motorcyclist and cyclist), claiming the lives of 286 people. 29 per cent of drivers and motorcyclists killed had consumed alcohol.

“Thursday 17 April 2014 was the day our lives were shattered because of drink-driving,” Gillian Treacy said. “As a mother, your instinct is to protect your children from any harm that might come their way but I wasn’t able to do this for Ciarán. Because someone decided to drink and drive that day, and his actions led to the death of my little boy. Our lives will never be the same again. I beg anyone who would think of drinking and driving to think of my little boy, and to think of the devastated family and community still mourning his loss.”

Assistant Commissioner John O’Mahoney said An Garda Síochána will be targeting drink-driving throughout the festive period, and this includes the morning after a night out when drivers can still be over the limit.

“Please don’t risk it, for your sake and those who share the road with you. Our appeal is to passengers too, don’t take a lift from anyone who has been drinking – you are effectively putting your life in their hands,” he said.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD said: “Drink driving kills, maims and shatters lives. While many people have changed their behaviour for the better, there is still a cohort of people who think it is acceptable to drink and drive. It is not. We simply cannot live in a society where we have to fear for our safety on the roads because of the selfish actions of someone else.

“We need to take responsibility for our behaviour on the roads so that other families are not left devastated because of bad choices. We must also continue to educate drivers, cyclists and even pedestrians about the very real dangers and consequences of using the road after consuming alcohol.”

To date this year, 181 people have been killed on Irish roads, an increase of 35 when compared to the same period last year. Between January and October there have been 6,629 arrests for driving under the influence, 406 more (6.5%) than this period last year. There were 665 arrests for driving under the influence during last year’s Christmas Campaign