The drink driving element of the new road traffic bill does not change the limits for drink-driving in Ireland, the limits remain the same but it does change the penalty.
Under the new law a driver who is found to be over the limit will now face an automatic driving ban for three months.
The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is 50 milligrams (mg) for all drivers, and 20mg for specified drivers, defined as learner or newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing their driving test) or professional drivers (of buses, goods vehicles and public service vehicles). One standard drink is enough to put someone at risk of going over the limit, one drink is defined as a glass of beer, a small glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits.
The advice is that any motorist planning to drive should not consume any amount of alcohol. Alcohol consumption is a significant road safety issue in Ireland and is a factor in 38% of all deaths on Irish roads, as well as many other collisions resulting in injuries.
It is also important to remember that as well as never consuming alcohol before driving, motorists may still be under the influence of alcohol the next day having consumed alcohol the evening before, particularly if they have consumed a significant amount of alcohol. As relatives and friends continue to suffer, mourn and be incensed at the devastation caused by drink drivers, we continue to look the other way at the time when it matters most; when a motorist gets behind the wheel of a car after consuming alcohol. It is a fact that consuming any alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of a collision and saving lives on Irish roads requires a zero-tolerance attitude to drink driving.
The clear message is – Drinking, Driving – they are better apart.