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Road Safety.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 7 March 2006

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

Ceisteanna (112)

Michael D. Higgins

Ceist:

128 Mr. M. Higgins asked the Minister for Transport when he proposes to reduce the blood-alcohol threshold level for driving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9192/06]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Transport)

The position of the Government in relation to drink driving policy is set out in a comprehensive manner in the road safety strategy 2004-06. This recognises that our priority is to improve compliance with the existing 80 mg per 100 millilitres of blood limit, rather than move to new limits. We apply an 80 mg limit with very strict application of driving disqualification. Lower blood alcohol limits operating in some countries do not necessarily attract such strict penalties.

The statistics indicate that those being detected for drink driving have a blood alcohol level well in excess of the legal limit. Some 89% of blood and urine specimens and 81% of breath specimens analysed in 2003 by the medical bureau of road safety were above the alcohol limit for driving. However, what is even more worrying is that over half of those who failed blood or urine tests, and almost one third of those who failed breath tests, had alcohol contents that were at least twice as high as the legal limit. The limit, therefore, is being ignored by a core number of drivers who refuse to obey the law.

I will bring forward legislation during the current Dáil session for the purpose of extending the basis for which a roadside breath test can be requested. The question of reducing the limit will be kept under review but the priority at present is to increase the chances of being breathalysed and heighten the deterrent effect.

Question No. 129 answered with QuestionNo. 127.
Question No. 130 answered with QuestionNo. 75.
Question No. 131 answered with QuestionNo. 73.
Question No. 132 answered with QuestionNo. 82.
Question No. 133 answered with QuestionNo. 89.
Question No. 134 answered with QuestionNo. 98.
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