Drink driving facts

By Liberty Insurance Ireland on 7 January 2014
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Alcohol can affect your peripheral vision, your reaction time to hazards and your ability to overtake. It can lead to quick, jerky starts, driving too fast or too slow and weaving. Check the legal limits here.

According to the Road Safety Authority, drinking alcohol can affect many of the functions that you need to drive. Alcohol can affect your peripheral vision, your reaction time to hazards and your ability to overtake. It can lead to quick, jerky starts, driving too fast or too slow and weaving. It can make you less vigilant - even though you may think you’re being hyper vigilant.

In October, the government introduced new drink driving laws, which have reduced the maximum allowable amount of alcohol a person can have while driving. They take into consideration alcohol, blood and urine testing, and vary depending on whether you are a fully licensed driver or professional driver.

The legal limits for fully licensed drivers in Category B are:

  • 50 milligrammes (mg) of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood (0.05)
  • 67mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine or
  • 22 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath

The new legal limits for professional, learner and novice drivers are:

  • 20mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood (0.02)
  • 27mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine or
  • 9 microgrammes of alcohol per 100ml of breath

Source: RSA

A new penalty system was also introduced to deal with offences. If you fail a preliminary breath test at the roadside, you will now be arrested and required to provide a blood, breath or urine specimen at a Garda station.

Penalties of up to €400 can be imposed for those caught with up to 80mg to 100mg of alcohol in their blood (depending on whether you’re a licensed, professional, learner or novice driver), and disqualification from driving for a year. This could very well affect your car insurance premium in the future.

If your alcohol levels exceed 80mg-100mg, you could face a fine of up to €5,000, six months in jail, and/ or disqualification from driving for six years.

Licensed drivers who don’t have their full drivers’ licence on them when stopped by the Gardai will have to comply with the lower, learner driver limit, so keep this in mind. It is actually a legal requirement that you have your licence with you at all times whilst driving.

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