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Minister wrong to long finger new blood alcohol limit for motorists – Doherty

24 October, 2007


Sinn Féin Transport and Road Safety Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has said a zero drug and alcohol limit should be included in the Road Safety Strategy which is to be published by Transport Minister Noel Dempsey and An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern tomorrow. Senator Doherty criticised the Minister for referring the issue of a new blood alcohol limit for motorists to and advisory group saying this issue is too serious to be put on the long finger.

Speaking today Senator Doherty said, "Minister Dempsey is due to publish the Road Safety Strategy tomorrow. However, it is not expected to include a proposal for a new blood alcohol limit for motorists as this has been referred to an expert group to make recommendations at an unspecified date in the future. This is not good enough.

"Motor vehicles become lethal weapons if operated under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drink driving is the main contributing factor to single vehicle collisions and is a factor in more than one third of all fatal crashes. The incidence of drug driving is also increasing.

"Sinn Féin has proposed, in our Road Safety Policy Document, the introduction of a total ban on intoxicating substance intake and driving, i.e. a zero alcohol and drug limit. My colleague, Vice-Chairperson of the Assembly's Road Safety Committee, Cathal Boylan MLA this morning raised this issue with the Six-County Environment Minister.

"Our proposal is designed to eliminate the risk of accidents as a result of impaired driving but also to take away the public confusion around how much alcohol they can drink before being over the limit.

"The Minister is wrong to put this issue on the long finger. This issue is too serious to be put back to an unspecified date. A zero drug and alcohol limit should be included in the Road Safety Strategy to be published tomorrow and, even at this late stage, I would urge the Minister to re-consider his intentions." ENDS

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