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Saturday 17 March 2018

Drunk drivers could now see an immediate three-month ban from the roads

Drink driving
Drink driving
Clampdown: Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Tom Burke
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Legislation which will mean all drivers detected drink driving receive a three-month disqualification has been approved by Cabinet.

Cabinet approves legislation brought forward by Minister Shane Ross to ensure that all drivers detected drink driving receive a disqualification

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, welcomed the decision and warned that penalty points send the wrong message.

“The evidence shows that despite a perception to the contrary, drink driving continues to be a very serious issue in this country. We can no longer be ambivalent in our attitude toward this destructive practice," he said.

In a statement the Minister's department cited Road Safety Authority research which cites alcohol as a a contributory factor in 38% of fatal collisions in a four year period.

Gardai this year arrested 961 people over the festive season for drink driving.

“What I am now proposing is that the existing provision allowing people to get penalty points rather than a disqualification for drink driving sends the wrong message and should go," Mr Ross said.

"Instead of three penalty points, such drivers will get a three-month disqualification. This is quite proportionate. Drink driving is serious, and potentially fatal. Even a small amount of alcohol can impair people’s reactions, and that cannot be tolerated when people are behind the wheel of a car."

“It is important to get it out there and working, and with it the message that drink driving will no longer be without serious consequences. This is an important step on the road to enacting what will be a focused, timely and urgently needed piece of legislation which will ultimately save lives," Mr Ross said.

It is hoped the Bill can be passed quickly into law.

The move has attracted some criticism from people who believe it may have a destructive effect on rural Ireland.

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae previously cautioned that Ireland did not want to rush into legislative changes the way that US President Donald Trump is rushing into decision in the states. The Independent TD said he may end up being the Bill's biggest supporter but that he wanted all contributory factors to road accidents to be addressed.

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