Sinn Féin looks likely to help the Minister for Transport Shane Ross get his General Scheme of the Road Traffic (Fixed Penalty – Drink Driving) Bill 2017 over the line.
The Bill ensures that any motorist found to have between 50 and 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood gets a mandatory three-month ban.
“We have had concerns about some of the data available to the Minister in the preparation of this legislation, given recent revelations about Garda breath-testing,” stated a Sinn Fein spokesperson in a statement to Drinks Industry Ireland.
The statement continued, “We understand that vintners and some people in rural areas are upset by the proposed legislation, but road safety has to be paramount. This proposal could save lives at a time where road fatalities are very sadly on the rise again.
“This is a matter for rural populations especially, in that most fatalities on the roads that have alcohol as a contributory factor occur on rural roads.
“The bill is still at pre-legislative stages. The vintners associations have been lobbying heavily and appeared at the Transport Committee so they’ve had a chance to air their grievances. The Minister and the RSA have also appeared before the committee as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny of the bill.”
Sinn Féin will now get behind the Minister’s Bill ensuring that he has enough support to get the legislation through the Dail.
The party’s support for the significantly weightier sanction from that of three penalty points and a €200 fine for drivers caught between these blood-alcohol levels was highlighted by the party’s transport spokesperson Imelda Munster on the Morning Ireland radio programme recently.
“When it comes to road safety, that has to take precedence,” she stated, “We want to avoid that dreaded knock on the door bringing bad news. If this can save one life it will be worth it.”