Verslunarmannahelgi, the Icelandic Merchants’ weekend, held every year during the first weekend of August, is arguably the busiest weekend of the year in Iceland when it comes to traffic. Through yesterday evening traffic across the country was very heavy, especially on Vesturlandsvegur and Suðurlandsvegur, the main arteries leading into the Reykjavík capital region, RÚV reports.
It is estimated that 6,000 people came back to the Icelandic mainland with the Herjólfur ferry from the Vestmannaeyjar islands where the Þjóðhátíð í eyjum festival was held. Police were waiting on the other side, at the Landeyjarhöfn harbor, and required all drivers to take a breathalyzer test before moving on. Even those drivers who initially refused to do so, took the test in the end, police report. Another police operation also took place at a different location, at Flúðir in the south of the country.
In total, 17 individuals were charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and one motorist was charged with driving under the influence of other drugs.
“We consider it very important after such a fun weekend that people take stock of their own situation and that they are sure that they’re sober when making their way home,” emphasized Chief Superintendent Sveinn Kristján Rúnarsson of the South Iceland Police.