Shane Ross Leah Farrell
off the rails

Train and tram driver alcohol limit 4 times higher than bus drivers - but that's set to change

Train and tram drivers are currently allowed a limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood.

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT Shane Ross will bring a new bill to Cabinet to lower the alcohol limits for train and tram drivers, which are currently four times higher than other professional drivers.

The Railway Safety Amendment Bill is due to be brought to the government to bring the limits into line with other full-time drivers.

Train and tram drivers are currently allowed a limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood, while other professional drivers are permitted 20 milligrams.

According to Ross, when drink driving legislation was changed in 2010, the limits were changed for motorists but were not updated for train and tram drivers.

It’s to equalise it, it’s to make sure they’re on a level playing field with bus drivers and taxis and other professional taxis.

”It’s four times higher which is absurd and obviously, an 80 [milligrams] limit is far too high because train drivers have to react very fast, they can’t take evasive action and they can’t swerve,”

Ross added that professional drivers also shouldn’t consume alcohol while at work.

When asked if there was a specific incident that had prompted this proposed change Ross replied ‘‘absolutely not’’.

Ross said that legislation will come as soon as possible but he was unsure of the exact date.

It will be a very short bill, I don’t know the date.


The Road Traffic Amendment Bill is also set to be on the agenda in the Dáil this week, a bill Ross accidentally voted against in January.

The bill would see an automatic disqualification for drivers on their first offence of driving while over the permitted 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

The bill’s passage has been delayed due to strong objections from a number of rural TDs, which the Road Safety Authority hit out against. 

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