2. You Can Only Be Penalised if You’re Over the Limit
Imagine this - you’ve had a quick drink at the pub after work, and are stopped on your way home for breath testing. You’re most likely under the legal limit, so it’s OK, right? Wrong! While the penalties for driving while you’re over the limit are more extreme - including disqualifications and full driving bans - drivers who are under the limit but still display erratic, dangerous behaviours on the road can still be penalised for driving under the influence. In Ireland, even if you’re under the 50mg per 100ml limit imposed in most areas, you can still get three points on your license and be fined 200 Euro.
3. One Pint is OK
According to media sources, the 50mg per 100ml limit imposed in Ireland is roughly equivalent to around one small glass of wine, or one pint of beer - but it’s important to remember that this is only a very vague estimate. The problem is that alcohol affects different people in different ways, and there are many factors than can either speed up or slow down how the body processes alcohol. Size and weight can influence intoxication , as well as how much you’ve had to eat recently. Even changes in hormone levels at different times of the month for women can have a huge effect .
4. ‘Text Driving’ is More Dangerous than Drink Driving
You may have heard that texting behind the wheel is more dangerous than drink driving, but is this really true? This ‘fact’ was based on studies by the Transport Research Laboratory which suggested that reaction times were reduced more and stopping distances were increased more when drivers were using a handheld device than when they’d been knocking back a few at the pub . What the study failed to examine, however, were the other dangers of drink driving, including visual disturbances , an obscured perception of risk , and increased risk-taking behaviours .
5. Drink Driving Only Affects the Irresponsible
It’s very easy to say that getting behind the wheel after a few drinks is your choice because any accident you may have will affect you - but could it affect others, too? According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, in 2010 alone, 120 innocent pedestrians, 20 cyclists, and 54 car passengers, including 60 children, were killed by a drink driver . Drinking and driving doesn’t just affect the irresponsible - it can affect many innocent people. The next time you drink, think about how one stupid decision could destroy lives and leave children without parents. Is it worth it?
6. It’s OK to Drink the Night Before
‘Sleep it off’ - words of wisdom that many of us have been listening to for years. Although we may wake up with a bit of a headache, we tend to wrongly assume that we’re OK to drive the morning after a big night out. Doctors claim that the body can process around 15mg of alcohol per 100ml per hour . If a pint is roughly equivalent to 50mg per 100ml, and you have 3 pints in the evening, you’re looking at around 9 hours in total to be completely sure that the alcohol is out of your system. If you’ve got work the next morning, or the school run, you could be putting yourself and others at risk.
7. Random Breathalyser Tests Don’t Work
In Ireland, it is completely legal to be asked to take a breathalyser test at Garda checkpoints - and you can also be asked to take a test even if you’re not at a checkpoint if there are reasonable suspicions that you are driving under the influence. It has been argued that random testing - which usually happens during the daytime - is ineffective because most alcohol will have been processed by the body by this time. However, according to studies, road traffic accidents in Ireland dropped by 19 percent in the 12 months after the random breath test law was introduced .
8. Drink Driving Only Happens at Christmas
If you’ve ever noticed that there seems to be more drink driving adverts on the TV during the festive period, there’s a reason - drink driving is very prevalent around times of celebration. Scotland even coincided their lowering of the legal limit with the Christmas holidays to prevent accidents during this period. But did you know that we’re twice more likely to get behind the wheel after a drink during the summer than the winter ? Christmas isn’t the only celebration that happens - those few days of summer sun we see in Ireland each year are another, increasing temptation and boosting risk.
9. Ireland’s Drink Driving Limit is ‘Unfair’
Actually, Ireland’s 2012 decision to reduce the legal alcohol limit from 80mg per 100ml of blood to 50mg per 100ml puts the ROI in line with most of continental Europe. While England, Wales, and Northern Ireland still impose a higher 80mg per 100ml limit, Scotland have also joined the 50mg club in an attempt to reduce the prevalence of drink driving and ultimately save lives. If you’re feeling like the limit is unfair, just be glad you don’t live in Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, or Russia where there is zero tolerance for drink driving - Ireland’s law is actually very reasonable!
10. Drivers Don’t Listen to Laws
Some people question why drink driving laws are in place when drivers - particularly young drivers - don’t abide by the rules anyway. However, despite what they may say, research shows that we really do listen. An estimated 7 percent of young drivers aged between 18 and 24 say that drink driving is OK , but would they really get behind the wheel after a night on the town? When Ireland dropped its lit from 80mg per 100ml to 50mg per 100ml in 2012, Garda Síochána analysis shows that the number of people arrested on Ireland’s roads dropped by around 50 percent on previous years !