There has been a broad welcome for the passing of the 2010 Road Traffic Bill which paves the way for reducing Ireland’s drink drive limit from 80mgs to 50mgs, along with a lower 20mg limit for learner drivers and professional drivers.
“Fifty mgs is the normal limit in most parts of Europe and indeed in most of the developed world,” says AA director of policy Conor Faughnan. “Ireland is something of an anomaly with its higher 80mg limit, and this brings us into line.”
Irish motorists strongly favour this reduction. The AA conducted a major survey of motorists’ opinion last October showing 63.9 litre were in favour of reducing the alcohol limit to 50mgs, while 27.9 per cent were opposed to the change
“Any way you slice it, it is abundantly clear that Irish motorists understand the drink driving issue and want to see the limit lowered.”
Support for the measure is reasonably uniform across the country. It is strongest in Dublin at 66.3 per cent approval and is weakest in Cork 58.1 per cent approval. The data also shows support was strongest among females (71.5 per cent overall ) and among those over 65s (67.5 per cent ).
The AA also believes the decision to use a lesser punishment, short of a driving ban, where a driver is above 50 but below 80mgs is an entirely sensible and practical measure.
“Accident risk increases markedly from 50mgs upwards,” says Faughnan. “However the AA believes it is only fair to treat someone who is plainly drunk and wilfully dangerous as being guilty of a more serious offence.
“Drivers who are just above the limit - perhaps because they still have alcohol in their system from the night before – are dangerous and will be breaking the law, but in fairness it must be acknowledged that this is not the same as the deliberate drunk driver.”
Motorists surveyed by the AA were asked whether they were in favour or against the change in policy.
The results showed:
Completely in favour 49.8 per cent
Somewhat in favour 14.1 per cent
Neutral 8.2 per cent
Somewhat against 11.9 per cent
Completely against 16.0 per cent
46.9 per cent and 13 per cent yes,
12.0 per cent and 19.3 per cent no
56 per cent and 15.5 per cent yes,
11.5 per cent and 10 per cent no
52.1 per cent and 14.2 per cent yes,
11.5 per cent and 14.1 per cent no
43.8 per cent and 14.3 per cent yes,
13.5 per cent and 19.7 per cent no
Connacht / Ulster:
46 per cent and 14.6 per cent, 12.8 per cent and 18 per cent no
Leinster not incl Dublin:
50.4 per cent and 14.3 per cent yes,
11.6 per cent and 15.8 per cent no
Munster not incl Cork:
50.9 per cent, 11.7 per cent, 11.8 per cent and 17.3 per cent no
17-24 yrs 61.3 per cent yes, 33.2 per cent no
25-35 yrs 66.8 per cent yes, 22.7 per cent no
36-45 yrs 63.8 per cent yes, 27 per cent no
45-55 yrs 61.8 per cent yes, 28.1 per cent no
55-65 yrs 61.9 per cent yes, 30.8 per cent no
Over 65 yrs 67.5 per cent yes, 26.5 per cent no