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Drink drivers will be automatically banned when caught

Cabinet approved the plan from Shane Ross earlier today.

File photo
File photo
Image: Liam McBurney PA Wire/PA Images

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT Shane Ross has announced that he has received approval from his Cabinet colleagues to implement a new law that will see drink drivers disqualified from driving.

Ross said that he hopes that the General Scheme of a Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty – Drink Driving) Bill can be now be passed as soon as possible, and without any amendment.

He said that disqualifying drivers who were found to be drink driving was “proportionate” and would “ultimately save lives”.

He said that drink driving continues to be a serious issue in Ireland, and that “we can no longer be ambivalent in our attitude toward this destructive practice”.

The Minister cited research conducted by the Road Safety Authority, which shows that 500 people were arrested for drink driving in the first three weeks of December alone, as showing the need for a change in how we punish those found to have been drink driving.

He said: “What I am now proposing is that the existing provision allowing people to get penalty points rather than a disqualification for drink driving sends the wrong message and should go.

Instead of three penalty points, such drivers will get a three-month disqualification.

“Drink driving is serious, and potentially fatal. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair people’s reactions, and that cannot be tolerated when people are behind the wheel of a car.”

He added that it was important to get this bill through quickly to send the message that drink driving can no longer go “without serious consequences”.

The bill will now be submitted for formal drafting with a view to publication as soon as possible. It will also be referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Read: ‘Very bad year for road safety’ sees more deaths and more fatal crashes

Read: Three out of five people think those convicted of drink driving should get automatic ban

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Sean Murray

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