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Thursday 8 December 2016

All of us can help to eliminate this scourge that costs lives

Published 02/06/2016 | 02:30

'The fact that, as the research shows, so many drivers were multiple times over the limit shows that it's not just one drink that's the cause of a fatal collision, but many' Stock photo: Depositphotos
'The fact that, as the research shows, so many drivers were multiple times over the limit shows that it's not just one drink that's the cause of a fatal collision, but many' Stock photo: Depositphotos

One group was noticeably absent in the Transport Minister's comments about the worryingly high prevalence of drivers who think it is OK to drink and drive - the motorists themselves.

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While the gardaí, Road Safety Authority (RSA) and Government all have a role to play in tackling the scourge of alcohol use on the roads, the culprit in the vast majority of fatal collisions is the driver who chooses to start their engine after a few drinks.

Personal responsibility plays a huge role. No one is forced to drink and drive.

The fact that, as the research shows, so many drivers were multiple times over the limit shows that it's not just one drink that's the cause of a fatal collision, but many.

Professor Denis Cusack, from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, notes that 40pc of the blood and urine samples analysed were three times over the legal limit. The fact remains that alcohol is a major problem in young, male drivers, he said.

He added that the message around the dangers of drinking and driving must be constantly reinforced.

There is no point in trying to blame the gardaí or RSA for these needless deaths. As has been repeatedly pointed out, there are almost 100,000km of roads across the country, so it is impossible to police it all.

The passenger who gets into a car with a drunk has a role to play in reducing deaths, as do friends who should take the keys from an intoxicated motorist.

This story is not about statistics, but mangled bodies and broken families. Ultimately, it falls to the driver to reduce the needless carnage on our roads.

Irish Independent

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