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Road Traffic Act

Drink drivers face automatic disqualification from midnight as new laws come into effect

The new law removes a concession in previous legislation by which some drink drivers received penalty points instead of being disqualified.

NEW LAWS WHICH would see drink-drivers automatically banned from driving for three months are set to come into effect from midnight tonight.

This afternoon, Minister for Transport Shane Ross announced that the drink-driving provisions of the Road Traffic Act would be effective imminently in the Dáil.

They remove a concession in previous legislation by which some drink drivers have received penalty points instead of being disqualified.

It now means that all drink drivers, without exception, will receive a driving disqualification for three months if they are caught.

Speaking ahead of the commencement of the new law, Ross said it marked a significant step in clamping down on the practice, adding that there were “few more irresponsible and dangerous things people can do” than drink driving.

“It was always wrong to give people the mild slap on the wrist of three penalty points for such potentially lethal behaviour, and it is great satisfaction to know that in future people who behave this way will face a disqualification from driving for three months,” he said.

Meanwhile, Moyagh Murdock of the Road Safety Authority said that alcohol consumption amongst road users was still a substantial problem in Ireland, pointing to statistics which showed that drink is a factor in 39% of driver fatalities.

She said the introduction of the new law sent out a “clear signal” that drink driving is something that is no longer acceptable or tolerable.

Murdock added that the measure would save lives, prevent injuries and assist the Government’s road safety strategy target of reducing deaths to 124 or fewer annually by the end of 2020.

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