Tuesday 20 March 2018

Drinking and driving is never acceptable

Straight Talking - Deborah Coleman

You can't beat the Healy-Raes for championing rural Ireland, however unacceptable their beliefs may be to some people.

Last week the newest member of the family to take his seat in Dáil Éireann raised an issue previously raised by his brother Michael and late father Jackie many times before - drink driving laws and their effect on rural society.

Danny Healy-Rae claims that 'nobody ever died in a road accident after three glasses of Guinness'. It's an argument that has angered many people who wonder how anyone could support the notion that drinkers should be allowed to consume 'a few drinks' and then get behind the wheel?

The legal limit of 50 mg of alcohol to 100 ml of blood is there for a reason - and mostly it facilitates a person enjoying a single social drink while still being able to drive safely.

This limit is in place to protect all road users, not to steal the joy of rural folk.

While years ago, laws were not in place to prevent drinking and driving, they are now, and it is the responsibility of every motorist on the roads to obey them.

Anyone who, at one stage of their lives, might have been in the habit of having a drink and then driving home is going to have to come to terms with the fact that those days are gone and no matter what Danny Healy-Rae or anyone else says, it is not a safe practice.

Alcohol is a factor in many road accidents and there is no doubt that it is better to make alternative arrangements rather than risk the life of yourself and others.

Danny Healy Rae portrays an image of country people sipping a single Guinness for the night. But the danger is that when those who like a drink and who don't have access to public transport or a lift hear their TDs arguing in favour of leniency for drink driving - they think it's okay to do so - and they have more than one and in turn take to the roads inebriated.

It is an insult to everyone else who arranges transport, walks or simply agrees to stick to soft drinks and drive to see others drinking and driving.

For every person who makes every attempt to be safe, there is another who thinks the law doesn't apply to them.