Drink driving

ABFI is totally opposed to drink driving, and believes those who drive above the legal limit should face the full rigour of the law. As with any approach to reducing alcohol-related harm, ABFI believes in an evidence-based approach, and the full enforcement of existing laws.

The quality of statistics regarding the intoxication of those involved in car accidents is sub-standard; therefore, more thorough and detailed research is required, on an ongoing basis.

According to the Road Safety Authority, the number of Irish road deaths fell to 162 in 2012, the lowest level on record, down 24 from 2011. While this is significantly down on previous years (the figure for 1997 was 472), it is still far too high.

The drinks industry fully supports the Blood Alcohol Content limits of 50 milligrams (mg) for all drivers and 20 milligrams (mg) for learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test) and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers. 

This alone, however, will not solve the problem. It is worth noting that enforcement of existing laws has proven very effective.

We fully support the existing practice of random breath testing on Irish roads and moves should be made to strengthen the practice of full enforcement of the law. The standardisation and regulation of self-testing equipment for BAC levels should be prioritised.

Driver education and awareness in this area is paramount. A drink-driving module should be included in the driver theory test. In addition, there should be a sustained public education campaign to raise awareness of the risks associated with drinking and driving.