Dáil passes lower drink-driving limit

The new lower drink-driving limit was passed in the Dáil last night, RTE reports.

Provision for a new acceptable blood alcohol limit of 50mg, replacing the current 80mg, is contained in the Road Traffic Bill.

The Bill passed through the Dáil without a vote as agreement on its contents was reached on all sides.

It now moves to the Seanad where it is due to be dealt with next week. The limit for learner and professional drivers has been cut from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 20mg and from 80mg to 50mg for other drivers.

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Drivers caught over the limit would receive three penalty points and a €200 fine, if they do not challenge the conviction in court, but they would not receive a driving ban.

The organization representing publicans has said it is extremely disappointed by the news that the Dáil has passed the Bill.

Chief Executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland Padraig Cribben described the Bill as something of a PR stunt, which essentially would not do anything to save lives on the roads.

Cribben also criticized rural Government TDs, who he said had offered his organization “a lot of tea and sympathy,” which was not much good when people are going out of business.

He also said it would be a further nail in the coffin of the pub trade everywhere, which is struggling to survive.

But Irish Rural Link, which represents rural communities, has welcomed the Dáil's agreement saying high drink driving limits are not the solution to rural isolation.

The move has also been welcomed by road safety campaigners, including the Road Safety Authority, which says the lower limit will save lives.