AA criticises TDs for putting alcohol sales before safety

AA Ireland says it supports the strengthening of the drink-driving laws because it will make roads safer.

The motoring group has also criticised some of the legislation’s opponents for prioritising the sale of alcohol over the safety of consumers and users.

The Road Traffic Bill, introduced by Minister for Transport Shane Ross during the summer, proposes that anyone caught with a blood alcohol level of between 50mg and 80mg per 100ml will receive an automatic driving ban.

There is a possibility that the proposed legislation might not become law. Fianna Fáil has said it will oppose the bill, although Sinn Féin said they would support it.

Some Independent TDs are opposed to it and Fine Gael TDs have expressed reservations or said they needed to look at the evidence for the change.

AA Ireland says the planned change is strongly supported by motorists.

Current legislation allows for a fine and penalty points for drivers below the 80mg level.

However, the AA believes Minister Ross is correct to strengthen this law and to remove any ambiguity in the minds of drivers.

Research conducted by the motoring body earlier this year found that 70% of motorists support the proposed changes.

AA Ireland’s director of consumer affairs, Conor Faughnan, said Minister Ross’s bill was supported by Irish motorists and the AA wanted to see it brought into law.

“We know that motorists support it because we asked them. Irish drivers understand the importance of the measure for improving road safety,” he said.

“Voices raised against this measure are not coming from motorists or from road safety experts. They are coming from those with a special interest in the sale of alcohol and who have not given due consideration to the impact that drink-driving has.

“AA research on driver’s views found strong support for the proposed changes in rural parts of the country. Simply put, opponents of the provision do not speak for rural Ireland on the issue.”

It also emerged that over 65% of almost 5,000 motorists surveyed by AA Ireland would support a system allowing the names of those disqualified for drink-driving included on a published record.

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