Garda Confidential No.: 1 800 666 111
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Press Releases

26/10/2011

An Garda Siochana Christmas Road Safety Campaign

Assistant Commissioner Twomey appeals to vulnerable road users (pedestrians, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists):

"Almost 40% of people killed on our roads are vulnerable road users. This winter I would ask pedestrians and cyclists to ensure they can be seen on the roads by wearing high visibility or fluorescent clothing. Motorists also need to be conscious of both pedestrians and cyclists using the roads.  All road users need take account of the dark evenings and the changing weather conditions, in their use of the roads over the Christmas period.  Drivers should ensure that their vehicles are road worthy, that all lights are working and tyres are in good condition.”

The overall message remains the same ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’.

With a further effort by all members of the community this year we all can ensure a happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

Public information campaign for new reduced drink drive limits launched

Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has joined the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána, today Wednesday 26th October, 2011, to launch a new campaign to raise awareness of the new reduced drink drive limits, which come into effect over the 2011 October Bank Holiday Weekend.

 
The drink drive limit, which is coming down in line with European levels, will see the current limit drop from 80 milligrams (mg) to 50 milligrams (mg) for all drivers and from 80 milligrams (mg) to 20 milligrams (mg) for learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test) and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers (PSV).

The below video gives an indication of the changes, and provides a level of guidance. Please note, this video is an introduction only, for specific legal questions please contact your solicitor.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Varadkar said: ‘These measures are designed to build on the good progress that Ireland has made on road safety. They send out a very clear signal that drinking and driving cannot be tolerated and will be prosecuted’.
 

"There has been a marked fall-off in road deaths so far this year, but we still have some way to go. I hope these new measures will ensure that the October bank holiday weekend does not see a repeat of the carnage witnessed in earlier years. Similar measures in Queensland, Australia saw an 18% reduction in fatal collisions and 14% in serious injury collisions. Sweden saw a reduction of 9.7% in fatal crashes and an 11% decrease in single vehicle collisions.”
 

The reduction can be implemented following the enactment of the Road Traffic No. 2 Act 2011, which was prioritised by the Government in the current Dáil term. 


 

The lowering of the drink drive limit will see the introduction of a new Administrative Penalty System to deal with offences under the new limits. In all cases, if a driver fails a preliminary breath test at the road side they will be arrested and required to provide an evidential breath, blood or urine specimen at a Garda station. Over these limits you face a fine, and risk penalty points, disqualification - or worse. (See below details of penalties applying to new lower drink drive limits).
 

Mr. Gay Byrne, Chairman, Road Safety Authority, said, "Over the past decade, you’ve saved over eleven hundred lives on the road. That’s the population of a small town. In fact it’s close to the population of Kilkee, Co. Clare. Changing your attitude to drink driving has played a big part in this achievement and for this you are to be thanked. Now that the drink drive limit is coming down in line with Europe, we have another opportunity to save even more lives. So I would strongly urge the minority of drivers who still believe it acceptable to drink drive, to reflect on the personal choices you make in relation to drinking and driving and ask yourself, is it really worth the risk? Reduced drink driving limits combined with Mandatory Alcohol Testing will directly address the issue of alcohol and driving in our society once and for all.”
 

Garda spokesperson Chief Superintendent Aidan Reid said, "An Garda Síochána is ready to enforce the new drink driving limits from the time they come into effect, midnight on Thursday 27th October 2011. All the necessary scientific equipment has been re-calibrated and is in place in stations, ready for use from the implementation date. Where a driver fails a roadside breath test that individual will be arrested and brought to the Garda station where a further breath, blood or urine sample will be taken. If the result of this sample exceeds the new limits the driver will be prosecuted in accordance with the new regulations.”

 
"All drivers are reminded that it is a legal requirement to carry a valid driving licence at all times when driving. If a driver cannot produce his or her driving licence when required to undergo a preliminary breath test, the lower limit of 20 mg will apply to that driver, until such time as the driver produces a valid driving licence. The key message of course is any alcohol impairs your driving, so the only advice is to never ever drink and drive.”
 

Recent studies indicate significant public support for the lowering of the drink drive limits. A 2009 study conducted by Millward Brown Lansdowne on behalf of the RSA shows that 7 out of 10 support the move from 80 milligrams to 50 milligrams. A similar number (73%) also backs the reduction to 20 milligrams for learner and professional drivers. A survey conducted by the AA of 7,000 motorists showed that over two thirds are in favour of reducing the alcohol limit to 50 milligrams.
 

A major public information campaign, to educate the public on the new drink drive limit changes, will begin on Thursday 27th October. It includes TV, Radio, Press and Online advertising.
 

The public can also find more detailed information on the changes at www.rsa.ie. A dedicated section of the site also dispels many of the myths surrounding drink driving. It provides members of the public with factual information on the effects of drinking and driving and its role in road deaths and serious injuries. The Road Safety Authority can also be followed for updates on Facebook and Twitter.  
 

 
For further information, please contact:

RSA Communications Office: 096 25008 / pressoffice@rsa.ie

Brian Farrell, RSA Communications Manager: 086 388 1009

Garda Press Office; 01 6662072 / pressoffice@garda.ie

 
Notes:

The lowering of the drink drive limit will see the introduction of a new Administrative Penalty System to deal with certain drink driving offences. Previously all drink driving offences were dealt with in the courts and an automatic disqualification applied to all drink driving convictions. Under the new system if a driver is not already disqualified from holding a driving licence at the time of detection or has not availed of the administrative fixed penalty notice option in the preceding 3 years, and the BAC levels in the body do not exceed 100mg, he or she will be subsequently served with a fixed penalty notice. Court proceedings will not be initiated if payment of the fixed charge is made and the penalty accepted.
 

The Fixed Charge Penalties applying to new lower drink drive limits are as follows;
 

50mg – 80mg the driver will be arrested, brought to a Garda Station and required to provide evidential breath or blood or urine specimens. In all cases where the BAC is deemed to be between 50 and 80mg and the driver is not a ‘specified’ person (e.g. learner or professional driver), and hasn’t availed of the fixed penalty administrative option in the previous 3 years, the driver will be served with a fixed penalty notice and receive a fine of €200 and 3 penalty points. Points will remain on a licence record for a period of three years. Any driver accumulating 12 points in a three year period will be disqualified from driving for a period of 6 months.

 
80mg – 100mg the driver will be arrested, brought to a Garda Station and required to provide evidential breath or blood or urine specimens. In all cases where the BAC is deemed to be between 80 and 100mg and the driver is not a specified person, and hasn’t availed of the fixed penalty administrative option in the previous 3 years,   the driver will be served with a fixed penalty notice and receive a fine of €400 and the person will be disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of 6 months.
 

20mg – 80 mg the driver will be arrested, brought to a Garda Station and required to provide evidential breath or blood or urine specimens. In all cases where the BAC is deemed to be between 20 and 80 mg and the driver is a specified person, and hasn’t availed of the fixed penalty administrative option in the previous 3 years,   the driver will be served with a fixed penalty notice and receive a fine of €200and the person will be disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of  3 months

 
District Court Penalties Where the BAC detected is above 100mg or above 80mg for a specified person, where the person is not eligible to be served with a Fixed Penalty Notice, or where payment has not been made in respect of a Fixed Penalty Notice the following court penalties apply on conviction.

 

OR COURT

Regime for BACs of less than 80

50+ to 80

20+ to 80

6 Months

1 year

Regime for BACs of greater than 80. No change.

80+ to 100

1 year

2 years

100+ to 150

2 years

4 years

150+

3 years

6 years

Regime for Court fines & imprisonment: Maximum fine of €5000 and/or 6 months in prison. (No change).

 

 Drink Driving in Ireland - FAST FACTS

·         Alcohol is estimated to be a contributory factor in 1 in 3 fatal collisions (all road users).

·         In 1 in 4 fatal crashes, the driver had consumed alcohol

·         Any alcohol impairs driving and increases the risk of collision.

·         At half the current limit (0.8 milligrams), drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a collision. At the current limit (0.8 milligrams) drivers are six times more likely to have a collision.

·         Alcohol is twice as potent when you are a tired driver.

·         Almost 1 in 5 drivers killed on our roads, where alcohol was present, were under the current legal limit (0.8 milligrams) when they died.

·         Any amount of alcohol impairs driving and increases risk – so the only safe advice is to Never, Ever Drink and Drive

·         All of the available evidence from research indicates that reducing the legal limit of BAC from the current limit of 0.08 to 0.05 will reduce the risk of being involved in a road traffic collision, and consequently will save lives and prevent serious injuries.

·         Every fatal road crash in Ireland costs the state €2.5 million.


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