Wednesday 24 April 2019

Special permit would make a mockery of the drink driving law

Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Just when you think the country is finally getting on board with drink driving laws, a suggestion such as that of Michael Healy-Rae TD last week to allow exemptions for those travelling to work is made.

Deputy Healy-Rae has asked for a proposal to be considered to allow those banned from driving for being over the limit, to be allowed apply for a permit so that they can continue to drive to work.

This would never get over the line, in my opinion, but if it did, it would make a complete mockery of the legal system.

The drink driving laws are there for a reason, and the driving disqualification handed down in District Courts should serve as a deterrent, not something that can be circumvented by a special permit afterwards.

The penalty for someone caught driving after they have consumed alcohol is that they will for a specific period, not have the freedom to drive wherever they want, whenever they want, be it to work or otherwise.

If someone has a job that depends on their ability to drive, then it is mind-boggling that they would risk this for the sake of a few drinks.

Deputy Healy-Rae has long been a champion of rural dwellers, but I feel that a proposal such of this is irresponsible and would do more harm than good.

If those who are inclined to break the law, realised that could drink, drive and still travel to work independently, what would stop them from flouting the law whenever they felt like a drink in the local?

I think this sort of proposal would feel like a slap in the face to those who have been bereaved due to the reckless behaviour of a drink driver and they would see it a whole lot differently than Deputy Healy-Rae.

If rural residents are feeling the pressure of isolation, lack of public transport or other services, then their elected representatives should be championing funding of services and job creation in the required industries to make life easier, not taking an easy option of calling for the introduction of a travel permit for those convicted of drink driving.

I think that any leniency in such cases would simply be abused and so, there can be no case-by-case basis for permits and the amount by which a person is over the limit shouldn't come into it.

Enniscorthy Guardian