Why we simply have to rid our roads of killer drink drivers
Our RSA expert highlights shocking waste of life as report shows alcohol involved in 286 deaths
Recently, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) announced changes to the Driver Theory Test. They will take effect on Monday, October 10.
From then anyone sitting the test for a car or motorcycle learner permit will have to answer at least two questions on drink-driving.
This is one of many initiatives the RSA is taking in response to the shocking report released earlier this year which showed drink-driving is such a major issue, especially among young drivers.
That Pre-Crash Report on Alcohol showed that between 2008 and 2012, drink was a factor in 38pc of fatal collisions, claiming the lives of 286 people.
A significant proportion of these fatalities were young drivers; 43pc of drivers killed who had drink taken were between 16 and 24; 57pc of motorcyclists killed were between 25 and 34.
It is tragic, devastating and a shocking, unnecessary loss of life.
There's no point blaming a lack of transport or using the old 'sure I've only had a couple of pints, I'll drive slowly' line.
Drink-driving kills and maims.
It destroys lives, families and communities.
I'm quite shocked that in this day and age, people continue to choose to drink and drive.
Alcohol impairs your ability to drive in a number of ways:
* peripheral vision is affected, making it difficult to see signs and other road users.
* Your reaction time is significantly increased; it takes you longer to spot a hazard.
* You drive too fast or too slow.
* Worse still, you drive in the wrong lane or weave in and out .
* You lose control of your car and make quick, jerky movements.
* You forget to signal your intentions to other road-users.
* You fail to stop when you need to, for example, at stop signs or red lights.
* Or you overtake other road-users dangerously.
The list goes on and on.
All of these driving errors put you, your passengers and other road users at serious risk of death or injury.
And before you start to think that this only happens if you've had a few drinks, remember that any amount of alcohol impairs your ability to drive. This is a scientific fact.
So in an effort to make sure we are communicating this message to new and young drivers at every possible opportunity, the RSA is making awareness of the consequences of drink-driving a compulsory part of the Driver Theory Test.
We have added additional information to the study material, helping to ensure that new drivers know and understand what drink-driving is, how it affects them and what the likely consequences are.
Every candidate will be required to answer at least two out of a possible 17 questions.
The Driver Theory Test could easily be dismissed as a box-ticking exercise, or worse still, a way to generate revenue. But it is a critical first stage in a graduated learning-to-drive process.
Learning to drive is a hugely significant and formative experience. It is a privilege to get a driving licence, to be entrusted to drive a vehicle on our roads.
And with that privilege comes an inherent responsibility to be a safe, competent and considerate driver.
Drivers do not set out to deliberately kill their friends, family members or other road users, but this is what happens when drivers make the decision to drink and drive.
By putting the spotlight on drink-driving at this important stage of the learning to drive process, our hope is that drivers will develop a responsible attitude towards themselves and others.