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Ireland may allow slightly drunk driving

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    He has put forth a motion that would allow some Irish to drive after "two or three" drinks.

An Irish county council will ask the government to relax drink driving laws.

County Kerry councillors have approved the motion for a request that people living in rural areas be allowed to drive “after two or three drinks”. The current blood-alcohol limit in Ireland is .05 (.02 for learner and professional drivers) which is less than a pint of beer.

Councillor Danny Healy-Rae proposed the motion after becoming concerned that some of his elderly constituents might become isolated in rural areas where the village pub is the only place to socialise – and public transport isn’t available at night.

Ireland’s blood-alcohol limits are credited with helping decrease road deaths by 42 per cent over the past four years, but Healy-Rae says he’s not suggesting a change that would risk a rise in the road toll.

“I see the merit in having a stricter rule of law for when there’s a massive volume of traffic and where there’s busy roads with massive speed. But on the roads I’m talking about, you couldn’t do any more than 20 or 30 miles per hour (up to 60km/h) and it’s not a big deal. I don’t see any big issue with it,” he told Irish news site The Journal.

“These people that are being isolated at present, all the wisdom and all the wit and all the culture that they had, the music and the singing, that’s all being lost to the younger generation because these older people might as well be living in Japan and Jerusalem because the younger generation don’t see them at all anymore. These characters are being isolated now at home, and a lot of them falling into depression,” he said. 

Healy-Rae has called on the Irish Minister for Justice to consider the change.


Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 3 comments

  • 0.08 is what is in the UK. Seems to work ok. For rural areas and speeds under 60 km/h it seems ok to me. Maybe should do the same in Oz.

    Peter Statham of Longueville Posted on 12 August 2013 12:49pm
  • Hmm I would like to see the evidence basis for his claim that it would not lead to increased risk. And a how he would police a differential limit to such supposed lower risk conditions? Given the crappy weather and narrow, poor quality roads in some parts of Ireland(hence the "20-30mph") lower speeds do not automaically equate to lower risk. At night with a closing speed of 40-60mph, I would not like to be faced by an older driver on a narrow rural Irish road, with a blood alcohol level above .05. That's a level that ample research has shown that driver performance drops of noticeably. Wouldn't a much smarter idea be for the council/government to seed fund local taxi buses with subsidised/free trips for pensioners and low income people? Many rural clubs do this here.

    Foresooth of Canberra Posted on 30 January 2013 11:12am
  • Is this not a bit racist? A cultural/racial stereotype?

    Patrick Mahonney of adelaide Posted on 29 January 2013 2:16pm

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