Sunday 20 October 2019

Bus driver was nine times over limit and slumped over wheel

Gardai were called to a bus on the M7 by members of public
Gardai were called to a bus on the M7 by members of public

Ken Foy

A 65-year-old bus driver who was driving while being nine times over the legal limit was found slumped over the wheel of the bus.

He was reported to traffic corps gardaí for driving erratically shortly before 7pm on Tuesday going north on the M7 near Newbridge, Co Kildare.

His single-decker bus - operated by a private company and with no passengers - had pulled into a lay-by by the time gardaí arrived.

The driver was subsequently arrested and brought to Naas Garda Station and charged in relation to the incident. He is due to appear at Naas District Court later this month.

The driver has an address in Rossport, Co Mayo, and had not previously come to garda attention for drink driving or any other charges.

Earlier in the evening, he had dropped a number of people at Dublin Airport and then drove southbound on the M50 and then on to the M7.

It is understood the driver was intending to stay in a hotel in the north Co Kildare area as he travelled southbound.

Sources have revealed that gardaí believe the Co Mayo man missed his turn on the motorway and then took the next exit before driving back in an allegedly erratic fashion.

Concerned members of the public contacted gardaí in relation to the bus driver's "very strange driving" and when officers arrived at the scene he was found to be "slumped over his wheel".

Last night, sources said gardaí were investigating whether the driver had actually been driving over the drink driving limit when he had earlier dropped passengers at the airport.

Last night, it was unclear where the bus driver had earlier picked up the passengers or where exactly he had intended to stay in Co Kildare.

Drink driving limits are lower for professional drivers or what is legally classified as "specified drivers" than for standard motorists.

The legal limit for novices, learners and professional drivers is 9mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath. A standard drink - half a pint or a small glass of wine - contains 10mg of alcohol.

It is understood the driver had a reading of 84mg per 100ml of breath, making him nine times over the limit.

Gardaí tweeted about the incident saying the Naas Roads Policing Unit had arrested the driver, a man in his 60s, after they stopped the bus at 7pm on Thursday.

In a completely separate incident in January, a bus driver was arrested for testing positive for alcohol at a Garda checkpoint.

Gardaí carried out a mandatory intoxicant checkpoint on the M1 motorway between Swords and Balbriggan on Saturday morning, January 6.

The bus driver was arrested after he failed the roadside test.

It is believed that up to 17 passengers were on the vehicle at the time and were stranded for up to two hours until a replacement arrived.

Irish Independent

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