Drink driving a factor in 40% of road deaths
The Offaly public are divided on the question of whether or not drink-driving laws should be more relaxed in rural areas. 55% of those partaking in our poll indicated that they do not believe punishments for drink-driving should be more lenient on rural road users. On the other hand, however, almost half of you, 45%, indicated that you do believe the penalties should be less severe in rural areas of the country like Co. Offaly.
The poll was issued on the back of a new Bill, brought forward by Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, which would set out to impose automatic driving license bans for those caught under the influence behind the wheel, effectively introducing a zero-tolerance approach to the crime in this country.
A debate on Monday night's Claire Byrne Live show saw some audience members argue for a relaxing of such laws in rural Ireland, owing to the reliance of the isolated and predominantly older population of people that reside outside the large urban areas. This is despite the fact that road deaths increased between 2015 and 2016, and the fact that alcohol is a factor in 40% of road fatalities.
An Garda Síochána’s recent drink driving campaign, which ran from December 1, 2016 to January 8, 2017, resulted in 961 arrests for drink driving, a 35% increase on the same period last year. "Driving under the influence of alcohol therefore continues to be a major problem and the highest risk group identified are young male drivers," Minister Ross said last week.