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New Drink Driving Limits/Reoffenders 2012 - Media Briefing on the 13/12/12

As of the 13th December 2012, 153 people have tragically lost their lives on Irish Roads.

Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid This however represents 22 less than this date in 2011. If this downward trend continues as expected, we will be on course to achieve another record low in 2012 in terms of road safety.
 
In saying that, the stark reality is that it is and will always be unacceptable for any person to die or be seriously injured on Irish roads in a road traffic collision.
 
The Christmas enforcement campaign commenced on the 26th November 2012 and will run until the first week in January. There will be a focus on the drink driving, speeding, non use of seatbelts and the use of mobile phones. These are the key "lifesaver” offences. Similarly the joint Garda/ RSA Christmas and New Year Road Safety campaign was launched on Monday 10th December. 
 
Members of An Garda Síochána will be out day and night nationwide, ensuring that this Christmas and New Year period is as safe as possible for all road users.
 

REVIEW OF LOWER DRINK DRIVING LIMITS
 
BACKGROUND

Since 2007 there has been a steady decline in the number of people arrested for drink driving.

 

Year

Drivers under the influence incidents

Breath tests at MATs

2007

19,848

489,029

 2008

18,014

563,115

2009

15,116

529,037

2010

12,602

563,646

2011

10,575

537,311

2012

*8,747 (30 Nov )

*426,342

 

The rate of detection therefore in 2007 was approximately 1 in 25.
The rate of detection year to date in 2012 is approximately 1 in 49.

As of 30th November 2012, the number of MAT (Mandatory Alcohol Testing) checkpoints performed has increased 3% compared to this period in 2011, 66,336 compared to 64,550.
 
 

New lower drink drive limits were introduced in Ireland on the 28th October 2011.
The drink drive (BAC Blood Alcohol Concentration) limit was reduced from 0.8 (80 mgs/100mls) to 0.5 (50mg/100mls). A further lower limit of 0.2 (20 mgs/ 100mls) was introduced for "specified” drivers*.
 
The Garda Síochána Analysis Service has now carried out a review of the lower drink driving limits, over a 1 year period 28th October 2011- 27th October 2012.
 

• In total there were 9,771 drink driving incidents were detected during this 12 month period.
 

Of those, a total of 1,260 fixed charge notices were issued for drink driving.
 
• 299 (24%) were for specified drivers* in the BAC range 21 to 80 mg/ml
• 620 (49%) were for non- specified drivers in the BAC range 51 to 80 mg/ml
• 341 (27%) were for non- specified drivers in the BAC range 81 to 100 mg/ml
 

Looking at all 9,771 incidents the following was identified:-
 

• Although there has been a decline in the number of arrests in all but one age group category (females aged 58-67) a significant number of drink driving cases involved a male driver, between 23-32 driving late at night/ early morning particularly at weekends, with a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) higher than 100mg/ 100ml.
 

• Offenders aged 38-47 tended to have the highest proportion of >150mg/100ml BAC levels, with nearly half of all drivers detected in this age group having a BAC level above this level.
 

• A new feature of the lower limits is the increase in the number of people detected driving the "morning after”, particularly on a Sunday around 11am. The BAC levels of these people tend to be in the lower ranges.
 

*Specified drivers include:-
• A holder of a learner permit
• Holder of a first driver licence (for category of vehicle being driven) within 2 years of issue
• Holder of a C, C1, D, D1, EB, EC, EC1, ED, ED1 or W category
• Holder of a SPSV licence whilst driving in the course of business
• Person not holding a driving licence for the category of vehicle being driven
• Furthermore if no licence is produced at scene, the person is tested at the lower limit.
 

New Non Specified Person Limits and Penalties
Class A penalty is a fine of up to €5,000 and/or up to 6 months imprisonment.

Blood Limit

(mg/100ml)

Breath Limit

(mg/100ml)

Urine Limit

(mg/100ml)

Fixed Charge Penalty

Penalty on 1st  conviction

Penalty on subsequent  conviction

51 to 80

23 to 35

68 to 107

3 penalty points and €200 fine

Class A +

6 month disqualification

Class A +

1 year disqualification

81 to 100

36 to 44

108 to 135

6 month disqualification and €400 fine

Class A +

1 year disqualification

Class A +

2 year disqualification

100 to 150

45 to 66

136 to 200

n/a

Class A +

2 year disqualification

Class A +

4 year disqualification

> 150

> 66

> 200

n/a

Class A +

3 year disqualification

Class A +

6 year disqualification


New Specified Person Limits and Penalties

Blood Limit

(mg/100ml)

Breath Limit

(mg/100ml)

Urine Limit

(mg/100ml)

Fixed Charge Penalty

Penalty on 1st  conviction

Penalty on subsequent  conviction

21 to 80

10 to 35

28 to 107

3 month disqualification and €200 fine

Class A +

6 month disqualification

Class A  +

1 year disqualification

81 to 100

36 to 44

108 to 135

n/a

Class A +

1 year disqualification

Class A +

2 year disqualification

100 to 150

45 to 66

136 to 200

n/a

Class A +

2 year disqualification

Class A +

4 year disqualification

> 150

> 66

> 200

n/a

Class A +

3 year disqualification

Class A +

6 year disqualification

 

Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips said today:-

"We can see from the review of the lower drink driving limits, that male drivers aged between 23-32, are still the number one group being arrested, in particular late at night, over the weekend and with a high concentration of alcohol in their system.
Again we will focus on this time period to intercept these drivers.
We also wish to thank those who do make the right choice of not drinking and driving when out socialising but we urge them to remember the "morning after” and ensure they are "alcohol free” before driving. We want every road user to have a safe Christmas and New Year period”
  

RECIDIVIST DRINK DRIVERS
 

The Garda Síochána Analysis Service has similarly completed a review of Recidivist (repeat offender) Drink Drivers over a 4 year period from 01/01/2008 to 23/09/2012.  A recidivist offender is a person linked to at least 2 drink driving offences over this period.
The analysis identified 61,874 drink driving incidents, with 48,202 offenders linked to 48,202 individual drink driving offences.
 

A further 5,852 offenders were linked to the remaining 13,672 offences.
A breakdown of the 61,874 offences reveals the following:-

Offenders linked to Drink Driving Offences since 1/1/2008

 

Offenders

Incidents

Offenders (%)

Offences (%)

1 offence

48,202

48202

89.2%

77.9%

2 offences

4,580

9160

8.5%

14.8%

3 offences

873

2619

1.6%

4.2%

4 offences

249

996

0.5%

1.6%

5 offences

87

435

0.2%

0.7%

6+ offences

63

462

0.1%

0.7%

Total

54,054

61,874

100.0%

100%

 

There were 5 offenders with 10 or more offences detected since the beginning of 2008
• There is one individual linked to 26 drink driving offences.
• There were another 145 offenders linked to 5-9 incidents of drink driving.

 
Gender
 

86% of the drink driving offences were committed by males, with 14% committed by females. Males also had a higher probability of being repeat offenders with 23.1% of the offences committed by male offenders linked to repeat offenders.
 
Nationality

34,680 (72%) of the drink driving offences were committed by Irish nationals. The table below shows the number of offences for the top 11 nationalities. A relatively large share of Lithuanians and Latvians drink drivers (34.2% and 34.4% respectively) were linked to 2 or more offences.
 
 
 

Incidents

Offenders linked to 1 incident

Repeat Offenders

Repeat Offenders (%)

Irish

34,680

9,597

21.7%

Polish

2,974

1,019

25.5%

Lithuanian

1,947

1,012

34.2%

Latvian

976

511

34.4%

English

848

184

17.8%

Northern Irish

694

81

10.5%

Romanian

469

129

21.6%

Nigerian

362

104

22.3%

Brazilian

240

84

25.9%

Slovak

233

53

18.5%

French

184

34

15.6%

Other/Unknown

4,595

864

15.8%

Total

48,202

13,672

 


 
 
Age Profile

• The majority of Drink Driving offences were committed by offenders between the age of 22 and 36. 23% of the offenders in these age categories are linked to 2 or more offences since January 2008.
 
 

Assistant Commissioner Gerard Phillips continued:-
 

"We wish to send out a very strong message that drinking and driving is totally unacceptable, and these selfish drivers cause carnage and heartbreak on our roads. We will particularly focus on this offence for the Christmas and New Year period.
We applaud those that have made the decision not to drink when out socialising, thus ensuring all get home safely. There are however, as you can see from the analysis on recidivist drink drivers, a cohort of people who refuse to respect other road users, and are repeatedly arrested for drink driving and often driving whilst disqualified.

As you can see from the figures presented here today, these selfish drivers are and will continue to be intercepted if they attempt to drink and drive.”
 
 

Mr. Noel Brett, Chief Executive, Road Safety Authority, welcomed the Garda reports and said:
 

"Since 2007 the number of drivers being detected driving under the influence of alcohol has more than halved. Clearly the introduction of Random Breath Testing in July 2006 and the lowering of the Drink Drive Limits in October of 2011 have been the principle factors behind this drop.
But critically the public must be congratulated for its willingness to accept the tough enforcement measures and for changing its behaviour. However, we must not think that we have cracked the problem of drink driving on our roads. While a minority, there is still a group of drivers out there who are intent on putting their lives and others at risk by drink driving. Many in this group are repeat offenders, and new measures are required to deal with this high risk group, which will be outlined in the new Road Safety Strategy, to be launched next year.