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SharonA BS: proposed alteration to drink driving level (137* d) RE: BS: proposed alteration to drink driving level 04 Nov 09


Not sure where "out here" might be in rural Ireland, but here's a website for folks to see what IS going on with the taxi industry in Ireland: http://www.taxi.ie/

Also, check out this article in the Mayo News: http://www.mayonews.ie/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=7974&Itemid=26
This article says the following about the proponents of the new legal limit (including several statistics):

FOR Noel Gibbons, the road safety officer for Mayo County Council, the proposal to reduce the blood alcohol limit (BAL) from 80mg to 50mg is a no brainer. He feels if it can save one life it should be introduced and that should outweigh any counter-argument.
Since becoming road safety officer, Noel has been to the forefront in the battle to reduce the number of deaths and accidents on our roads and he strongly welcomes the proposal by Minister Dempsey. He pointed out that the BAL for all EU countries bar Ireland, the UK and Malta was 50mg or lower and the number of road deaths in those countries has reduced since its introduction.

"Anything that will reduce the number of people killed on the roads has to be supported. If you look at the best practice used in other countries there has been a huge reduction in the number of fatalities as a result of reducing the drink driving limit. Naturally those countries had the same debate we are having when the reduced limits were introduced but they are now reaping the benefits with the reduction in deaths on the roads.

"The whole point of reducing the limit is to save lives and that should be the priority in all cases. When the random breath testing was introduced it was opposed but we are able to see the number of lives saved and this will be a follow-on from that," he said.
The common argument for opposing the reduction of the alcohol limit is the it will have a detrimental affect on rural Ireland and rural businesses. However, Mr Gibbons believes that this argument needed to be brought up on a different forum and another person who believes this argument does not wash is Susan Gray, founder of Public Against Road Carnage (PARC) - a road safety advocacy group based in Inishowen, Co Donegal who promote responsible driving. She told The Mayo News that her association was 100 per cent behind Minister Dempsey's proposal and would be very disappointed if he backed down.

"We should bring this in now and this time next year there will be people alive who would not be if it is not reduced," she said. "When you get behind the wheel you need all your concentration and if you have drink on you the chances of being involved in a collision are a lot higher. This silly argument about people living in rural Ireland being isolated and not getting to the pub is a load of codswallop. I live in a rural part of Ireland, you can't get anymore rural than Inishowen, and we make alternative arrangements about getting home from the pub, it's that simple. Most of the electorate want this lower limit and support it except for a few with a load voice. It is a sad state of affairs if it does not go through and I hope people back Minister Dempsey."

Mr Gibbons revealed that a recent survey showed that 87 per cent of Irish people consider drink driving as a shameful act. However he feels that for the number of deaths to continue to fall the attitude amongst certain drivers that one pint will do no harm has to change.
"I believe people will accept this change but they need to realise that there is no safe limit with drink driving. If you have a drink you cannot drive. Even at a quarter of the current legal limit, your vision is affected. There's a huge percentage of fatalities every year where alcohol is in the system of people involved in those fatal collisions. Lowering the drink driving limit will reduce that risk."

Ms Gray believes that there is a culture of drink driving in the country but feels reducing the limit will go a long way in changing that culture.

"When mandatory testing came in it did reduce the drink driving a lot and if we bring a lower limit that will be another step in the right direction in saving lives. That is what it is all about, nobody should be dying on our roads unnecessarily."

...Most experts suggest that it will take a pint of average strength (four per cent) beer or cider at least two hours to leave your blood stream when you stop drinking, while a 250ml glass of 15 per cent wine will take four hours.

According to safedriving.ie, an average person drinking on a typical Saturday night may at midnight have 200 mg per 100 ml of blood in their system - 2.5 times the current drink driving limit. If the person stops drinking at midnight there will still be 90 mg in their system at 7.30am and they will still be over the limit, and may only be under the current limit by 10.30am.


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