In Ireland’s Kerry Country, local police will allow residents to drive moderately drunk thanks to a law approved by county councilors; the new law is still awaiting approval by the department of Justice.
With a vote of 5 to 3 (with only 12 councilors absent) lawmakers in the southwest Ireland county passed a motion giving the Gardai (aka police) the ability to overlook certain drunk-driving incidents.
Councilor Danny Healy-Rae proposed the motion because he was concerned for “older” rural residents who he believed were “being isolated now at home, and a lot of them falling into depression.”
He believes that the lack of public transportation is causing people to stay home after consuming “two or three drinks” because of their fear of losing their license or spending the night in jail.
“I see the merit in having a stricter rule of law for when there’s a massive volume of traffic and where there’s busy roads with massive speed,” said Healy-Rae. “But on the roads I’m talking about, you couldn’t do any more than 20 or 30 miles per hour [30-50kph] and it’s not a big deal. I don’t see any big issue with it.”
However, several people did oppose the motion. The Mayor of Kerry, Terry O’Brien said that it “doesn’t make any sense” and considers it to be “incredibly dangerous,” adding, “I don’t know what expertise one would have to look at someone in a bar to give them a permit to drive a car after any alcohol.”
Conor Cullen, the rep for Alcohol Action Ireland, agrees.
“Almost one in three crash deaths in Ireland is alcohol-related,” he said.
“Even in small amounts, alcohol impairs driving ability – any amount of alcohol increases the risk of involvement in a fatal crash.”
Paul Hudson | Elite.