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AA Supports Strengthening of Drink Driving Law - read statement

The following news release comes from AA Ireland. For any enquiries or for verification contact Conor Faughnan Director of Consumer Affairs at 01 617 9440 / 087 2530495 or Barry Aldworth at 01 617 9394 / 086 3126527.

9th October 2017

AA Supports Strengthening of Drink-Driving Law

  • AA Ireland believes that the proposed changes have the potential to both reduce instances of drink-driving in Ireland and in turn make Irish roads safer.
  • The AA has also criticised some of the legislation’s opponents for prioritising the sale of alcohol over the safety of consumers and road users.
  • Change is strongly supported by Irish motorists

AA Ireland fully supports a proposed bill due to be introduced by Shane Ross, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, which would introduce an automatic driving ban for any driver detected with a blood alcohol level in excess of 50mg.

Current legislation allows for a fine and penalty points for drivers below the 80mg level. The AA believes that Minister Ross is correct to strengthen this law and to remove any ambiguity in the minds of drivers.

Research conducted by the motoring organisation earlier this year found that 70% of motorists support the proposed changes.

“Minister Ross’s bill is supported by Irish motorists and the AA wants to see it brought into law.” Says Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan. “We know that motorists support it because we asked them. Irish drivers understand the importance of the measure for improving road safety.”

“Voices raised against this measure are not coming from motorists or from road safety experts. They are coming from those with a special interest in the sale of alcohol and who have not given due consideration to the impact that drink-driving has. AA research on driver’s views found strong support for the proposed changes in rural parts of the country. Simply put, opponents of the provision do not speak for rural Ireland on the issue.”

While supporting the Minister the AA warns that changing legislation has little long-term effect if it is not backed up by enforcement. Ireland has tough laws, but relatively weak enforcement.

“Let us see a lot more flashing blue lights out there.2 Says Faughnan. “There is no better measure if we are serious.”

Separately, over 65% of motorists are supportive of the introduction of a system which would see drivers disqualified for drink driving have their names published on a publically available record.

In an AA survey of almost 5,000 motorists, 41.65% of those surveyed stated that they strongly supported Transport Minister Shane Ross’ plans to introduce a system to name and shame drink drivers. 23.95% of respondents stated that they were somewhat support of the plans, with just 8.15% of those surveyed stating they were strongly opposed to the idea.

The survey also found that the majority of motorists surveyed believed that the introduction of such a system would have, at least, a moderate effect in reducing incidents of drink-driving on Irish roads.

21.69% of respondents stated that they felt the risk of being ‘named and shamed’ would have a major effect on driver behaviour, while an additional 39.19% felt the proposals would have a moderate effect. The survey found that just 12.62% believed that such a system would have no effect in reducing drink-driving rates.

Fig.1: Under current law driving bans are only imposed on first-time drink-driving offenders where the blood alcohol level exceeded 80mg per 100ml. The Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty-Drink Driving) Bill 2017 proposes that this limit be lowered and anyone caught with a blood alcohol level of between 50mg and 80mg per 100ml would receive an automatic driving ban. To what extend do you support this measure?

All responses to AA Motor Insurance Survey carried out in April 2017.

Response Percentage
Very supportive 47.36%
Somewhat supportive 20.95%
Neutral 9.57%
Somewhat unsupportive 11.69%
Very unsupportive 10.43%

 

Fig. 2: Recently Minister Shane Ross announced plans to introduce a system for publishing the names of drivers disqualified for drink driving by the end of 2017. To what extent would you support or oppose such a measure?

Based on 4,861 responses to an AA Car Insurance survey carried out in August 2017

  All (%) Male only (%) Female only (%)
Strongly support 41.65% 40.35% 42.47%
Somewhat support 23.95% 21.35% 26.66%
Neutral 16.70% 17.05% 16.17%
Somewhat oppose 9.54% 10.50% 8.64%
Strongly Oppose 8.15% 10.75% 6.06%

 

Fig. 3: Age Breakdown: Recently Minister Shane Ross announced plans to introduce a system for publishing the names of drivers disqualified for drink driving by the end of 2017. To what extent would you support or oppose such a measure?

  17-24 25-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Strongly support 39.71% 41.98% 41.09% 42.05% 38.98% 43.70%
Somewhat support 27.94% 25.37% 26.84% 22.42% 23.39% 22.35%
Neutral 17.65% 17.54% 15.39% 17.46% 15.83% 16.30%
Somewhat oppose 10.29% 10.07% 10.31% 8.26% 11.45% 7.56%
Strongly Oppose 4.41% 5.04% 6.36% 9.81% 10.35% 10.08%

 

Fig. 4: What effect do you believe such a measure would have in reducing incidents of drink-driving on Irish roads?

  All (%) Male only (%) Female only (%)
Major effect 21.69% 18.61% 23.41%
Moderate effect 39.19% 35.73% 42.85%
Neutral 9.91% 9.84% 9.43%
Minor effect 16.59% 17.84% 16.10%
No effect 12.62% 17.99% 8.21%

 

Fig. 5: What effect do you believe such a measure would have in reducing incidents of drink-driving on Irish roads?

  17-24 25-35 36-45 46-55 56-65 65+
Major effect 19.12% 19.81% 22.83% 20.08% 21.52% 20.47%
Moderate effect 44.12% 38.88% 38.52% 40.06% 37.29% 41.62%
Neutral 10.29% 12.71% 9.44% 8.49% 9.29% 9.64%
Minor effect 20.59% 17.57% 17.35% 15.84% 17.60% 16.07%
No effect 5.88% 11.03% 11.86% 15.53% 14.30% 12.18%
Drinkaware Supports Proposal - read statement

Drinkaware Supports Proposal For Drink-Drivers To Receive Automatic Disqualification

Drinkaware supports the proposal by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross TD to change the current legislation that allows people who are detected driving while over the alcohol limit to continue driving. In the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2017, the legislation will be changed so that any driver found to be over the alcohol limit will receive an automatic disqualification. 

A survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Drinkaware in June 2017 showed that there was a high level of awareness of the dangers of drink-driving among adults, yet some continued to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol, despite knowing the risks. The survey found that:

  • 88% of adults agree that any amount of alcohol impairs driving ability
  • 1 in 10 adults surveyed had driven after consuming alcohol in the previous 12 months
  • 70% of adults who admitted to drink-driving agree that any amount of alcohol impairs the ability to drive.

Ms Niamh Gallagher, CEO of Drinkaware said:

We support the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport’s proposal to change road traffic legislation so that drivers found over the alcohol limit receive an automatic disqualification. Our research shows that although most adults know that alcohol impairs driving, 1 in 10 had consumed alcohol and driven in the past 12 months. Our role is to promote safe and responsible drinking among adults; driving while under the influence of alcohol is not responsible.”

Drinkaware has consistently communicated the message of the dangers of drink-driving through campaigns such as ‘Had Enough’ which encourages people to realise the impact of alcohol on their driving, and the ‘Morning After’ campaign which highlights the potential dangers of driving the morning after a night of drinking. Drinkaware also has a number of tools and resources available to help adults and young adults to make responsible and safe choices about drinking, see our website.

Drink Driving in Ireland – Watch Video