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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued).

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017: Second Stage (Resumed) (Continued). (12 Dec 2017)

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Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: The objective of this legislation is to make our roads safer by encouraging safer driving by motorists and ensuring, in so far as we can, that alcohol is no longer a factor in road deaths. It is not, as some speakers have claimed, an attack on rural or urban life or any group of persons. The purpose of the proposals is to make our roads safer for us all. Whether one is driving in west Kerry or north Louth, the same rules apply. As it stands, it is against the law to drive with a blood alcohol level above 50 mg per 100 ml. Where the level is between 50 mg and 80 mg per 100 ml, the motorist will, on conviction, have penalty points imposed on his or her licence. This Bill proposes not to change the amount of alcohol motorists may have in their system but to change the penalty for the offence in question such that there will, for a first offence, be an automatic disqualification from driving for three months.


The question is whether this provision is reasonable and right and, if so, what argument can we make to sustain that position. Road death statistics last year show that, sadly, seven people were killed in County Kerry, which is the same number as died in County Louth. Those two counties are quite different. Louth is the smallest county in the State but has a large urban population and a huge volume of traffic and a motorway running through it. Kerry is a much larger county with an entirely different geography, road network and spread of population. Unfortunately, we saw the same number of deaths on the roads in the two counties in 2016.


Studies carried out by the Road Safety Authority show that over a period of years, an average of seven motorists driving with a blood alcohol level of between 50 mg and 80 mg per 100 ml die on our roads every year.


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This debate was continued on Thursday 14 December  link here

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