Drink-driving, speeding and road safety


Sir, – With regard to Minister for Transport Shane Ross’s proposals to increase drink driving penalties, Seamus Lennon (February 27th) writes that “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”.

And yet, how many drivers who know they are close to or over the limit take the chance that they will not be caught? Increasing the penalty has little effect if you think you won’t get caught; increasing the likelihood of getting caught is much more likely to change minds. The difference between a short and a much longer disqualification for drink driving makes little difference to a drunk driver if they think they’ll get away with it.

More gardaí, more checkpoints and more testing are more likely to have a positive effect.

As always though, that takes more time, more money and more effort.

I won’t be holding my breath. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 12.

Sir, – The approach of Minister for Transport Ross to road safety could be counterproductive. Let’s consider the evidence.

In the last couple of years a range of new offences have been introduced which are designed to stamp out behaviour which impairs driving. Most of these offences attract penalties which are more severe than the penalties attached to speeding.

Speeding not merely impairs driving, it has been shown to be statistically significant in the incidence of death and injury on own roads.

As any driver will confirm, speeding is now a respectable driving activity.

The paradox we are now witnessing of increases in the variety of road offences coexisting with increases in death and injury on our roads is a classic example of poorly thought-out policies leading to perverse results. – Yours, etc,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – Now is not the time to give An Garda Síochána any more powers. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.