Ross to cut drink drive limit to zero

Transport Minister Shane Ross. Photo: Tom Burke

Philip Ryan

Transport Minister Shane Ross wants a total ban on alcohol for all drivers.

Mr Ross is currently at war with some of his Government colleagues and Opposition TDs over his plan to disqualify first-time drink drivers from driving.

Now, in an interview with the Sunday Independent, Mr Ross reveals he wants to make it illegal to drive after drinking any alcohol.

"I'd like to reduce it to very close to zero because the indications are, and this is World Health Organisation statistics not mine, that any amount of alcohol impairs," he says.

"It's not something that people here feel is palatable to accept but that's the implications and I'd like to bring it lower because you save lives by stopping people drinking," he adds.

First-time offenders currently face fines and penalty points for drink driving.

The current legal limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood for experienced drivers and 20mg for inexperienced and learner drivers. Under current legislation even one drink could put a driver over the legal limit for driving.

However, first-time offenders can escape with a fine and penalty points for drink driving if their blood alcohol level is below 80mg.

Mr Ross wants to remove this exemption from legislation. The minister accuses Fianna Fail of being "prisoners" of the Vintners Federation of Ireland for opposing his road safety bill.

Mr Ross said he will seek the support for Sinn Fein and the Labour Party to pass the legislative changes and request a free vote for the members of the Independent Alliance.