skip to main content
  • 045 980200
  • Head Office: Áras Chill Dara Devoy Park Naas Co Kildare W91 X77F

Road Safety, Cycling and Sustainable Transports

The new lower Drink Driving legal limits came into operation at Midnight 28 October 2011.

Drink Driving accounts for one third of all fatal crashes in Ireland. Almost a quarter of drivers killed were under the legal limit when they died. The new legal drink-driving limit is 50mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood.

The drink drive limit, which is is in line with European levels, will see the current limit drop from 80 milligrams (mg) to 50 milligrams (mg) for all drivers and from 80 milligrams (mg) to 20 milligrams (mg) for learner, newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing the driving test) and professional drivers such as bus, goods vehicle and public service vehicle drivers (PSV).

The lowering of the drink drive limit will see the introduction of a new Administrative Penalty System to deal with offences under the new limits. In all cases, if a driver fails a preliminary breath test at the road side they will be arrested and required to provide an evidential breath, blood or urine specimen at a Garda station. Over these limits you face a fine, and risk penalty points, disqualification - or worse.

FAQ on the new Lower Legal Drink Driving Limit

The driver of an alcohol related crash is not the only one who suffers. Often innocent pedestrians, cyclists, passengers or other road users are killed or seriously injured in a crash. At half the legal limit you are twice as likely to have a crash. If driving at the legal limit, you are Six Times more likely to be in a crash. Regardless of the amount you drink, even if it’s just One Pint or a Glass of Wine, which is equivalent to the current legal limit, just One alcoholic drink will impair your driving. If you have just one drink and are still within the legal limit, you are still not safe to drive.

Fast facts:
- Alchohol is estimated to be a contributory factor in 1 in 3 fatal collisions (all road users)   
- In 1 in 4 fatal crashes, the driver had consemed alchohol
- Any alchohol impairs driving and increases the risk of collision.
- At half the current limit, drivers are twice as likely to be involved in a collision. at the current limit (0.8 milligrams) drivers are six times more likely to to have a collision.
- Alchohol is twice as potent when you are a tired driver.
almost 1 in 5 drivers killed on our roads, where alchohol was present,were under the legal limit (0.8 milligrams) when they died.
- Any amount of alchohol impairs driving and increases risk - so the only safe advice is to Never, Ever drink and drive.
- All of the availible evidence from research indactes that reducing the legal limit of BAC from the current limit of 0.8 to 0.5 will reduce the risk of being involved in a road traffic collision, and consequently will save lives and prevent serious injuries
- Every fatal road crash in ireland costs the state €2.5 million.

How alcohol works
Alcohol goes straight from the stomach into the blood stream. A drinker can control the amount of alcohol that he or she takes in, by having fewer drinks or none. However, the drinker cannot control how fast the body gets rid of alcohol. If you have drinks faster than the body can get rid of them, you will have more alcohol in your body and your driving will be more effected. The amount of alcohol in your body is commonly measured by the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

How does Alcohol affect Driving?
Alcohol Impairs Judgement of Speed and Distance
It Increases risks taken by drivers
It slows down driver’s reaction times
It Increases Stopping Distances

Alcohol leads to Bad Driver Behaviour such as…
…driving too fast or too slow
…driving in the wrong lane
…running Stop Signs and Red Lights
…failure to signal or use lights
…driving in the centre of the road, over the centre line
…braking every occasion when a vehicle approaches

Drivers under the influence of alcohol tend to…
…weave in and out of lanes
…run over the curb
…have quick, jerky starts

How does Alcohol affect the Body?
Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. It can take up to an hour for the liver to clear only one Unit of alcohol from the system. The exact units of alcohol in a drink depend on its size and alcoholic strength by volume. Drinkers can never be sure of how much alcohol they are consuming because the amount of alcohol in drinks varies.

The speed at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood stream varies, depending on that person’s size, weight, age and gender, also whether they have eaten. The same amount of alcohol will give different blood alcohol levels in different people.

Planning on Drinking?
Nominate a Designated driver
Get a Taxi or Bus to and from venue
Stay over at a friend’s house or book into a B&B or a Hotel
In cases where you cant get any of the above, Make that call! Call Home for a Lift.

The Morning after the Night Before
One in five fatal crashes happen between the hours of 6am and 12 noon. These are all alcohol related morning after fatal crashes. A lot of people are under the impression that, by eating before you go out, or having a meal during your evening out you are soaking up the alcohol and therefore you think it will breakdown the level of alcohol in your system. Some people even think that, by drinking a Pint of water when they arrive home, this will also lower your alcohol limit through the night. These are all myths. 

After a night out, the following morning, those same people may have to drive to work, do their shopping, and drive on long journeys or wherever. Whatever they have to do or where ever they need to go, they will more likely need to drive, and unknown to them, alcohol is still in their system, they are simply over the legal limit to drive. 

The only assurance you can trust to be safe enough to drive is Time.
If You Drink – Don’t Drive – If You Drive – Don’t Drink.