On one side you have Ireland's measures against drunk driving: a maximum allowable blood-alcohol level of .05 percent (the legal limit is .08 in most states in the US), and statistics like the lowered limit and checkpoints having "decreased road deaths by 42 percent in the last four years." On the other side you have councilor Danny Healy-Rae of County Kerry who is worried about some of his elderly constituents being isolated in rural areas: Healy-Rae says that the pub is the only place to socialize in some villages, and without public transport and any way to get home after a few pints, some elder villagers end up staying home every night for fear of losing their licenses.

To address the issue, Healy-Rae has put forth a motion that would allow some Irish to drive after "two or three" drinks – with "some" being limited to certain people in certain out-of-the-way places. He is clear that he doesn't want this thought of as a blanket provision for the entire country, saying "on the roads I'm talking about, you couldn't do any more than 20 or 30 miles per hour and it's not a big deal. I don't see any big issue with it."

The mayor of Kerry does have a big issue with it, questioning how someone can suggest that drinking and driving, by anyone for any reason, is acceptable. Alcohol Action Ireland also takes issue, its chief dousing Healy-Rae's arguments with "Those in rural areas who may be suffering from isolation will not benefit from putting their lives and the lives of the other members of their community at risk by drinking and driving." Healy-Rae's motion was passed in a local council meeting by a vote of five to three, and now he's asking Ireland's Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, to consider it.


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  • 27 Comments
      MONTEGOD7SS
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm not Irish (well, kind of, but not from Ireland), but is seems like their limits are quite low. At .08 most people are perfectly capable of driving around at least as well as someone with a cell phone stuck in their ear and screaming kids in the back. If they bumped up to .08 in Ireland it seems like they could still be just as safe. Plus, let's not kid ourselves that DUI laws have anything to do with keeping us safe anymore than marijuana laws do. It's always about money, always.
        SloopJohnB
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MONTEGOD7SS
        True WRT the cellphone and screaming kids....kids aren't illegal but the cellphone is in many places. I'm in favor of leaving the screaming kids home, however....
      Gordon Chen
      • 1 Year Ago
      A safer alternative is better public transportation. Here in SF, I hate how public transportation halts at 12am, way earlier than when bars close. It sucks b/c I live near a train station, and I'd use it all the time if it just closed later (or not at all, like in NY).
      d
      • 1 Year Ago
      Well having lived in rural ireland for the first 35 years of my life i do know since these drink driving laws were enforced many many rural pubs closed down due to their customers being afraid to drive the two or three miles to the local village for their few pints. This has led to an epidemic of suicide's in the community. Many of these were elderly farmers living alone with their only outlet being a few pints at their local. Now keep in mind you could count on one hand the cars passing late at night. everyone knew who's car it was. It is a problem. what the solution is im not sure. There are no taxis or bus service also. Oh most of the accidents in Ireland were due to young drivers speeding in their boy racers and not from alcohol. The resulting drop in accidents has more to do with said boy racers emigrating to australia and elswhere than due to drink driving laws. I dont condone drunk driving but can understand where these guys are coming from. I await the firey comments that are sure to come.
      onewayroll
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an Irish man I'm a little insulted by the heading of this topic. "Ireland could allow moderately drunk driving" You take one idiot councilor's Proposal and turn it into a country wide idea that we want the drink driving limit increased for our lonely rural residents. Never going to happen and most of the country is laughing at this clown.
      Spigwan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Irish person here. No we could not allow it. The idiot Healy-Rae floated it because he's so stupid that he honestly thought it would draw support. Something like this would have to be enacted by the Minister for Justice and that ain't gonna happen. Ever. Also you're about a week late with this, it's been posted, discussed and dismissed pretty much everywhere already.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
        Mr.Krinkle
        • 1 Year Ago
        Bait post. Right...because it worked so well for the US during prohibition.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mr.Krinkle
          [blocked]
          Mr.Krinkle
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Mr.Krinkle
          That's using your grape...
        Gordon Chen
        • 1 Year Ago
        I know you're being sarcastic and referring to guns, but we highly regulate alcohol. The story above even states driving drunk deaths are reduced from many safety measures.
      graphikzking
      • 1 Year Ago
      First is was newstations(What's under your kitchen sink could kill you, tonight at 11 - turns out it's bleach if you drink it instead of thinking it's vinegar) , then it's was radio DJ's (MIke & Mike in the morning do this all the time - I'll tell you why I HATE football after the break). Now it's Autoblog "Ireland could allow moderately drunk driving". Why wouldn't you put "Ireland could allow moderately drunk driving like all of the 50 US states already do" Their blood alcohol level of .05 is much less (60% less than ours) Honestly - drunk driving is terrible. In some parts of the country I can see it's a way of life and the norm and those areas are usually not the areas that have multiple deaths etc associated with it because there is so much wide open space. Usually they drive off the road into a field and wake up the next morning, start up their car and finish their drive home. .08 should be the hard limit. Either that or ZERO. Take your pick, but .05 is just silly. Some people can blow a .05 after 1 beer 30 minutes prior and even after eating a meal. it's way too limited.
        GreenN_Gold
        • 1 Year Ago
        @graphikzking
        Eating has no affect on your BAC. You may "feel" a bit more sober, but your BAC will be the same either way. For the average person a 0.05 BAC would require about 2.5 servings of alcohol, and you can expect your BAC to lower by about 0.02 every 90 minutes. As always, your mileage may vary depending on personal factors.
      SloopJohnB
      • 1 Year Ago
      IIRC Ireland only dropped it to .05 in conformance with the EU. Ewwww.
      XJ Yamaha
      • 1 Year Ago
      "the legal limit is .08 in most states in the US" I'm pretty sure .08 is mandated nationwide...just sayin'
        SheldonRoss
        • 1 Year Ago
        @XJ Yamaha
        No, only underhandedly mandated. States set their own limits, but the federal government threatened to withhold highway funding from those who didn't adopt it. So it's technically set by the state, but they're blackmailed into following the federal standard.
      Israel Isassi
      • 1 Year Ago
      the drunk driver that ran over me on my me on my motorcycle didn't remember seeing me until nearly 2 miles later.
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Stuart
      • 1 Year Ago
      As an Irish man living only a short drive from where this "story" has developed I have to tell you that it is total nonsense. The "council" that decided it wants to introduce "drinking permits" does not have the authority to make this happen at all. IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN. It was just a pathetic politician trying to rally some support and make a name for himself. End of. Please read the article below (that long-ass URL link) http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2013/0126/1224329286999.html?fb_action_ids=10151695046489922&fb_action_types=og.recommends&fb_ref=.UQQIjhTSfxY.like&fb_source=timeline_og&action_object_map=%7B%2210151695046489922%22%3A405180469563953%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151695046489922%22%3A%22og.recommends%22%7D&action_ref_map=%7B%2210151695046489922%22%3A%22.UQQIjhTSfxY.like%22%7D
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