Leading coroner urges debate on lowering drink-drive limits

ONE of the country’s most notable coroners has clashed with the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) and Road Safety Authority (RSA) over new drink-driving limits.

Arguing that lowering the limits “would have a very negative affect on social interaction in rural Ireland”, Dr Denis McCauley called for further studies and consultation before enacting the measures.

The GP and coroner for Donegal north-east is not convinced that reducing the drink-driving limit by 30mg to 50mg/100ml will have any benefit.

However, RSA chief executive Noel Brett said a higher drink-driving limit was not the answer to social isolation and studies proved a lower limit would make roads safer.

“There is absolutely no doubt that reducing the drink-driving limit saves lives,” he said.

“The evidence is overwhelming and 112 separate studies show the same result so there is no arguing with the science.”

His view was echoed by Dr McCauley’s governing body, the IMO, which urged the Government to fully implement the measure. The new limits are not expected to be in force until September to allow for the updating of garda breath-testing equipment.

Dr McCauley wants a “cost benefit analysis” to be carried out on bringing in the new measures.

“What I am looking for is more debate on the issue before the law is introduced because it is very hard to rescind a law when it is brought in,” he said.

In response, Mr Brett said the measure had been fully debated in the Oireachtas before being signed into law last July by President McAleese.


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