Drink-driving and the law


Sir, – There are too many drink-related deaths on our roads. Minister for Transport Shane Ross believes he can reduce the numbers by reducing the alcohol limit to near zero.

I would like him to be specific about how many lives he thinks he can save by this measure. How many of these tragedies were caused by a person driving home after just one drink, the current limit?

Surely he has access to the statistics?

Am I being unfair in thinking his grand gesture could be less about saving lives and more about making a name for himself, a cynical effort to salvage something from a dismal record in government?

Surely the way to save lives is to increase Garda checkpoints to catch the real drunk drivers who cause these deaths.

The negative impact his plan will have on rural people in particular will be profound, for both the hospitality industry, and for individuals. This will be a huge culture shift in our society.

So, before Mr Ross goes galloping off on his white charger, would he please tell us how many lives he will save? – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.

Sir, – You report (News, February 22nd) that Fianna Fáil is to block plans by Minister for Transport Shane Ross to automatically disqualify drivers found under the influence of alcohol.

With over 2.5 million cars on our roads, drivers know that there is little chance of getting caught if they drink and drive. The most powerful tool we have to persuade drivers not to drink and drive is to ensure that the penalty, if they are caught over the limit, is so severe that they would not consider taking the risk. Mr Ross now proposes such a penalty, namely automatic disqualification if caught driving over the limit.

The politicians that oppose this move are in effect saying that there is an acceptable number of unnecessary deaths and injuries on our roads caused by drink driving. They would have walked past protestors outside the Dáil yesterday whose loves ones were killed by drink drivers.

Do they not realise the moral responsibility that comes with being a lawmaker? Will their conscience be at them when they read of people being killed by drivers who took the risk and drove when over the limit? I urge Fine Gael to press ahead with their proposals, and to seek support from other parties in the Dáil. Surely we have enough TDs who value their constituents’ lives higher than their votes? – Yours, etc,