Drinkaware has responded to major concerns raised by members of the public on the lack of clarity around recent changes to drink driving laws, by reminding motorists that newly updated drink driving provisions of the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018 are now in effect.
These new provisions increased the penalty for drivers detected with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 50mg and 80mg from a €200 fine and three penalty points to three months disqualification from driving (plus a €200 fine).
As of Friday, October 26, 2018, ordinary fully licenced drivers detected by An Garda Síochána with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of between 50mg and 80mg, will receive an automatic disqualification from driving of three months and a €200 fine.
The penalties for learner, novice and professional drivers remain the same at three months disqualification from driving and a fine of €200.
Drink driving arrests in Ireland have been steadily increasing for the past three years. Last year, 8,920 drivers were arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant (DUI), compared to 8067 arrests in 2016 (an 11 per cent increase).
Drinkaware said it was clear that drink driving remains an issue in Ireland, with the latest Road Safety Authority statistics showing that alcohol is a factor in 39 per cent of all driver fatalities.
Speaking on the need to address concerns raised, Drinkaware CEO, Sheena Horgan, said: “There is clearly confusion out there about the new drink driving laws, we can see this with the volume of calls and emails we are receiving from people who are looking for clarity on the change. The crucial thing to understand is that this legislation update increases the penalties for drink driving at lower alcohol levels; it does not change the legal limits.
“At Drinkaware, one of the most common questions we are asked is, ‘How many drinks can I have and still be okay to drive?’ The simple answer is none.”