Strict new drink driving laws complete passage through Oireachtas

New drink driving laws have passed through all stages in the Oireachtas, after senators voted in favour of the legislation this afternoon.

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill will see the introduction of an automatic driving ban for first-time offenders, including those detected at the lowest limit.

It will also make it an offence for car owners to allow a learner driver to use their car without a qualified driver.

The bill faced a protracted debate in the Dáil before it was passed earlier this month, amid strong opposition from a number of rural TDs.

Senator Grace O'Sullivan today described the bill as a "step forward on road safety".

Transport Minister Shane Ross welcomed the passage of the bill.

He said: "I am particularly delighted that this Bill has finally completed all stages of its passage through the Houses of the Oireachtas, and I would like to thank the members of the Seanad for addressing it so efficiently.

"This is a short but very important Bill, which will tackle two serious problems on our roads, drink driving and driving by unaccompanied learners."

The new laws will come into force after the bill is signed by President Higgins.

Today's passage marked one of the final pieces of legislation to pass through the Seanad before the summer recess, with no sittings now scheduled for two months.

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