Dáil votes in favour of strict new drink driving laws

Drivers caught at the lowest limit will now face an automatic ban

Dáil votes in favour of strict new drink driving laws

File photo of the Transport Minister Shane Ross, 09-12-2017. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

The Dáil has voted in favour of a suite of strict new road traffic laws

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill will see the introduction of an automatic driving ban for first-time offenders detected at the lowest limit.

The legislation will also make it an offence for car owners to allow a learner driver to use their car unaccompanied.

The legislation has long been delayed over concerns among rural TDs that it will lead to further isolation for those in remote locations where there is little public transport.

Filibustering

In the final debate before voting on the legislation today, rural TDs were accused of filibustering - or purposefully delaying the legislation.

One of those, Michael Healy-Rae spoke for an hour and 15 minutes on the bill. He insisted however that he was attempting to represent rural communities across the country.

In the end the legislation was passed by a majority 75 to eight.

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae during a heated debate in the Dáil

Road Traffic Bill

Currently drivers caught with alcohol concentrations of between 50mg and 80mg face a fine and penalty points but no ban – provided it is their first offence.

They will now face an automatic fixed-term ban.

The bill will also see car owners who allow a learner to drive their vehicle unaccompanied facing prosecution.

The legislation will also give Gardaí the power to seize and impound a vehicle on the spot where an unaccompanied learner is behind the wheel.