Monday 23 October 2017

Drink drivers face 'alcolocks’, in cars - cyclists get on-the-spot fines

Treacy Hogan and Paul Melia

CONVICTED drink drivers will be forced to install 'alcolocks' in their cars and undergo rehab courses as part of their punishment.

And cyclists will for the first time get on-the-spot fines for breaking traffic lights.

Learner drivers will also be prosecuted if their accompanying fully qualified passenger fails a new alcohol breath test where gardai suspect the passenger is over the limit.

The radical measure are contained in the new Government road safety plan unveiled today.

Actions in the seven year Government Road Safety Strategy include:

- Rehab and driving awareness courses for repeat drink drivers.

- Mandatory alcolocks - devices into which drivers blow, and their car will only start if no alcohol is detected, for repeat drink drivers. This will be sentencing option for judges.

- On the spot fines for cyclists who break traffic lights or commit other road offences. Currently, they are prosecuted, although this rarely happens.

- Five new motorway service stations to combat tiredness.

- Employers asked to install a device in company vehicles so that drivers can only use mobile phones when the handbrake is on.

- Private GoSafety speed camera vans to detect other offences, such as out of date tax, no NCT or insurance discs.

- New laws to prevent car write-offs being re-sold.

- Compulsory breakdown kits.

- In-vehicle devices which sense tiredness will be encouraged.

- Regular audits of road markings, accident blackspots, and signage.

The strategy which runs until 2020 aims to reduce road deatsh in Ireland to less than 124 a year ( a total of 162 died last year) , and serious injuries to less than 330 annually.

The strategy, launched by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar at a conference in Dublin Castle this morning, sets out 144 specific actions to reduce road deaths and serious injuries.

Road Safety Authority chairman Gay Byrne said there would be a major emphasis on lowering the incidence of serious injuries which "changed lives forever."

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