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Disappointment as Road Safety Strategy fails to deal with blood alcohol levels

25 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Transport and Road Safety Spokesperson Senator Pearse Doherty has described the new Road Safety Strategy published today as a missed opportunity as it failed to introduce a new blood alcohol level for motorists. Senator Doherty said he had urged the Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey to ensure that a zero blood alcohol level was in the new strategy as the issue is too serious to put on the long finger.

Speaking today after the official launch of the new road Safety Strategy Senator Doherty said:

"It is very disappointing to see that the new Road Safety Strategy has not made any recommendation with regard to a new blood alcohol level for motorists. This can only be described as a missed opportunity as it is too serious an issue to be put on the long finger.

"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. I had urged the Transport Minister Noel Dempsey to include our proposal in the new Road Safety Strategy and my colleague, Vice-Chairperson of the Assembly's Road Safety Committee, Cathal Boylan MLA has as recently as yesterday raised this issue with the Six-County Environment Minister.

"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.

"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." ENDS

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