Save lives – Support mandatory alcohol testing for crash drivers, urges Alcohol Action Ireland

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, is appealing to every member of the Seanad to save lives on Irish roads and support upcoming legislation which will allow for the early implementation of mandatory alcohol testing of all drivers in road collisions where someone has been injured.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow ’s Seanad vote on the Road Traffic Bill 2011, Alcohol Action Ireland Director Fiona Ryan said:  “Nine out of ten surviving drivers in fatal crashes are not tested for alcohol. The passing of the new Bill will allow for the mandatory testing of drivers involved in such collisions to be commenced immediately.

 “In 2006, the Government introduced random breath testing and in each succeeding year, the number of deaths on our roads fell. We now urge the Government to implement mandatory alcohol testing without delay.

 “Alcohol, even in small amounts, can and does impact on driving. This decision should be an easy one to make  – voting in favour of this legislation is a vote to save lives. ”

Ms Ryan urged that the legislation be passed and implemented as soon as possible to ensure greater safety for all road users.

Notes to Editor:

The Road Traffic Act 2010 was passed into law on 7th July 2010 and signed into law on 20th July. The legislation lowered the drink drive limit from 80mgs of alcohol per 100mls of blood to 50mgs, and to 20mgs for novice and professional drivers. The Act also provided for mandatory alcohol testing at the scene of all road collisions where someone is injured.  

The lower drink driving limits are due to be commenced in September 2011, at the earliest. This is to allow for new breath-testing equipment for the lower limits to be purchased, tested and put in place at Garda stations throughout the country.

Under the Road Traffic Act 2010, the new lower drink drive limits and mandatory alcohol testing were linked, meaning mandatory testing could not be commenced until the new drink drive limits commenced.

The Road Traffic Bill 2011 allows for the early implementation of mandatory alcohol testing at the scene of all road collisions where someone is injured.

The legislation is due to come before the Seanad on Wednesday, January 19.