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Dublin: 6°C Wednesday 1 December 2021

Half of the population believes drivers shouldn't be banned for having alcohol in their system

There is little appetite for stricter rules around driving and alcohol among the Irish population.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

PROPOSALS TO CHANGE Ireland’s drink-driving laws have stirred much debate in Leinster House – and across the country – in recent weeks.

Transport Minister Shane Ross wants to introduce legislation which would see drink drivers automatically disqualified from driving when caught over the alcohol limit.

Under an exception in current laws, people caught breaching the alcohol limit in certain circumstances can avoid disqualification by paying a fixed charge and incurring penalty points.

“A lot of people were availing of it,” Ross says.

His plan would not lower the alcohol limit (which is 50mg) but to gauge what people think about drink driving in 2017, a recent Claire Byrne Live/Amárach poll for TheJournal.ie asked:

Should people be banned from driving if they’re caught driving with any alcohol in their system?

Fifty percent of people said they should not be, while 35% said they should be taken off the road. Fifteen percent responded ‘I don’t know’.

Writing in TheJournal.ie on Saturday, the Independent Alliance minister said he is taking the opportunity presented to him to save lives.

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“The fact that my Bill will save lives is not a truth some vested interests want to hear – and they are going to great lengths to ensure you don’t hear it either,” he writes.

“There can be no such thing as ‘collateral damage’ where alcohol and road safety is concerned. We have the power to save lives. In all honesty – how can anyone argue with that?”

The poll was carried out on Monday, surveying more than 1,000 people. 

Shane Ross: ‘If you could save one person’s life, would you?’

‘I can have one joint, right?’ Everything you need to know about roadside drug testing

FactFind: Have people been killed in road crashes where drivers were just over the limit?

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