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Sunday 25 February 2018

'Having a pint and a half before driving is fine,' says Healy-Rae

Danny Healy Rae. Picture: Tom Burke
Danny Healy Rae. Picture: Tom Burke

Ian Begley

Independent TD Danny Healy-Rae has claimed that having up to a pint and a half before driving would not cause an accident.

The controversial Kerry TD also said that he stood over his belief that eating a big meal and getting behind the wheel of a car is as dangerous as drink-driving.

The Kerry politician initially made the controversial statement earlier this year and said cracking down on drink-driving is a "crusade to isolate people further in rural Ireland".

He has since gone on to say that there was a certain level of drinking alcohol that was acceptable before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Speaking on Newstalk, Healy-Rae claimed that anyone with between 50mg and 80mg of alcohol in their bloodstream would not cause a road accident.

"We need to get clarity on what level of milligrams we're talking about," he said.

"The pint and a half-pint, or three little glasses, I firmly believe and still believe that this will not have an adverse effect on people's ability to drive.

"My contention is that anyone in that bracket wouldn't cause a fatality or an accident," he added.

On last night's Claire Byrne show on RTÉ, Mr Healy-Rae said a pint consumed by "any person" has never caused a fatality on our roads.

"I've been around long enough in Kerry to know that it has never happened from around my neck of the woods," he said.

"I don't condone drink-driving and I never would.

"However, [a zero tolerance to drink-driving] would mean people would be further isolated in rural Ireland," he added.

The Independent TD, who owns a pub in his constituency, added that this is not the reason why he is against proposed new drink-driving measures being implemented.

Moyagh Murdock of the Road Safety Authority disagreed with Mr Healy-Rae, confirming that fatalities have been caused by people drinking less than one-and-a-half pints of alcoholic beverages.

"Evidence has shown that even a small amount of alcohol would cause a crash," she said.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and gardaí recently launched a campaign to make people aware that they may not be safe to drive the morning after a night out.

Transport Minister Shane Ross said: "Drivers need to be aware that they may not be safe to drive the morning after a night out, as they may still have alcohol in their system.

"As such, it is critical that drivers take measures to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

"This means leaving the car at home and making alternative arrangements for the morning after if they need to get somewhere," he added.

The RSA analysed An Garda Síochána forensic collision investigation reports for fatal collisions that occurred on Irish roads between 2008 and 2012.

It looked at alcohol-related crashes the morning after and found that 11pc of the 222 fatal collisions in which a driver had consumed alcohol occurred during the morning after drink had been consumed.

Irish Independent

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