Following months of debate and strong opposition by TDs from the Rural Independent Group to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, the Minister for Transport has commenced certain provisions of the Act which came into effect at midnight on 25th October 2018. 

Previously, drink drivers at the lower end of the alcohol limits would just receive a fine and 3 penalty points under the fixed penalty notice scheme.  If you paid the fine stated on the notice within 28 days, the additional penalty stated on the notice would be imposed but you did not have to go to court.  The new law now ensures that all drink drivers, without exception, will receive an automatic disqualification from driving for 3 months and a fine of €200. 

The following limits apply under the fixed penalty notice scheme:

  • 50mg to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
  • 68mg to 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
  • 23mg to 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath

The limits are lower for learner drivers and professional drivers as follows:

  • 21mg to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
  • 28mg to 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
  • 10mg to 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath

If the alcohol content is higher than the above limits, increased fines and disqualification periods apply.  Furthermore, if you are summonsed to Court for a drink driving offence, the disqualification periods range from 6 months to 6 years and a Judge has the discretion to increase those periods depending on the circumstances of the case including the amount of alcohol that has been detected in your system.  The court will also take into account whether this is your first offence or otherwise.

One standard drink is considered enough to put someone at risk of going over the limit, which includes a glass of beer, a small glass of wine or a pub measure of spirits.  However the amount which will put someone over the limit varies from person to person on a number of factors and road safety experts recommend that nobody intending to drive should consume alcohol.  According to the Road Safety Authority, the intention of the legislation is to send out a clear signal that drink driving is no longer acceptable or tolerable in our communities.

Don’t Drink and Drive!!