Make roads safer

Make roads safer – reduce alcohol levels for drivers, Alcohol Action Ireland urges Government

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, called on the Government to move forward with legislation that would reduce the amount of alcohol you can drive with from a Blood Alcohol Concentration limit of 80mgs of alcohol per 100mls blood to 50mgs.  

Alcohol Action Ireland CEO, Fiona Ryan said: “Alcohol, even in small amounts, has been shown to impact on driving. Any amount of alcohol is a risk, even if that amount is below the current BAC limit of 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. We welcomed the introduction of random breath testing as a move to deter drink driving. Now is the time to bring forward the legislation that would ensure greater safety for all of us using the roads.”

AAI also called for the introduction of legislation which would allow for compulsory alcohol testing of all drivers involved in crashes.  

AAI recommended an investigation into the pricing of non-alcoholic drinks which can often exceed the price of an equivalent volume of an alcoholic drink. This may be a matter for the Competition Authority or the National Consumers Association. (Both the Strategic Taskforce on Alcohol and the Government Alcohol Advisory Group called for an investigation of the same to be carried out).  

Some facts on alcohol related harm:

  • In 2006, the Gardai made 17,868 arrests for driving while intoxicated, up 34% on arrests made in 2005
  • Alcohol was found to be a factor in 37% fatal road crashes in 2003, in which 123 persons were killed
  • Of the 87 drivers with alcohol who were responsible for crashes, 15 (17%) were not above the legal limit
  • Almost nine out of ten (87%) people favour a reduction in the current BAC limit
  • Roughly six out of ten (57%) said they would like to see the limit reduced to zero (’effective zero’ approach)

The European Commission estimates that at least a quarter of road deaths can be attributed to alcohol. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that alcohol plays an even greater role.

Testing commenced on a nationwide basis on the 21st July 2006

Garda Annual Report 2006
Bedford et al Alcohol in Fatal Road Crashes in Ireland. Findings based on Garda data on fatal road crashes in 2003

As above
PARC (2008) Drink-Driving Limit Survey based on sample of 3,240 children and adults aged 15+

As above
Swedish National Road Administration Towards Alcohol Free Roads in Europe