Drink Driving Rules (20/02/2017)

We recently posted on Facebook that there will be changes to the drink driving rules. We were amazed at how many people were confused about the current limits. A lot of people were not aware that the lowest penalty included penalty points. Others did not realise that the rules are different for professional drivers. We thought it might be useful if we pulled together a guide to the rules.

Before we get into the legals, have a look at this:

  • Between 2008 and 2012, alcohol was a contributory factor in 38% of all fatal collisions
  • More than half of all drink driving arrests occurred between 6am and midnight.

So the evidence is clear, alcohol impairs your driving, increases your risk of having an accident and checks can happen at any time of the day!

Limits

If you are found to be in charge of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and hold a valid licence/permit at the time of the offence and your alcohol level is below a certain limit, you will be issued with a fixed penalty notice. If you pay the fine stated on the notice within 28 days, the additional penalty stated on the notice will be imposed but you will not have to go to court. You are not eligible for a drink driving fixed penalty notice if you have received a similar notice within the previous 3 years. The alcohol limits and penalties applied under the fixed penalty notice scheme are as set out below:

Driver type Concentration of alcohol Fine Additional penalty
Experienced drivers (a) Not exceeding 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Not exceeding 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Not exceeding 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
€200 3 penalty points
Experienced drivers (a) Exceeding 80mg but not exceeding 100mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Exceeding 107mg but not exceeding 135mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Exceeding 35mcg but not exceeding 44mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
€400 6 months disqualification
Other drivers (a) Not exceeding 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Not exceeding 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Not exceeding 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
€200 3 months disqualification

Learner, recently qualified and professional drivers

The limits are LOWER for these drivers.


Concentration of alcohol

(per 100ml of blood/urine/breath)

Disqualification periods (months) or penalty points

(and fixed penalty)

Learner, recently qualified and professional drivers

(a) Blood: More than 20mg but not more than 80mg

(b) Urine: More than 27mg but not more than 107mg

(c) Breath: More than 9microgrammes but not more than 35microgramme

3 Months (& €200)

Court system

If you have to go to court the disqualification periods for drink driving convictions are as follows:

Concentration of alcohol First offence (period of disqualification) Second offence (period of disqualification)
(a) Not exceeding 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Not exceeding 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Not exceeding 35mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
6 months 1 year
(a) Exceeding 80mg but not exceeding 100mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Exceeding 107mg but not exceeding 135mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Exceeding 35mcg but not exceeding 44mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
1 year 2 years
(a) Exceeding 100mg but not exceeding 150mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Exceeding 135mg but not exceeding 200mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Exceeding 44mcg but not exceeding 66mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
2 years 4 years
(a) Exceeding 150mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
(b) Exceeding 200mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
(c) Exceeding 66mcg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
3 years 6 years

The above penalties are minimum penalties and the judge has the discretion to increase these penalties.

The maximum penalty for drink driving is €5,000 or 6 months in prison or both.

Is One Pint OK?

Typically stories about alcohol limits say that the 50mg per 100ml limit imposed in Ireland is roughly equivalent to around one small glass of wine, or one pint of beer. This can be misleading! It's important to remember that this is only a very vague estimate. The problem is that alcohol affects different people in different ways, and there are many factors than can either speed up or slow down how the body processes alcohol. Size and weight can influence intoxication , as well as how much you've had to eat recently. Even changes in hormone levels at different times of the month for women can have a huge effect .

What about the morning after?

It's simple - if you've been drinking the night before, there could still be alcohol in your system the morning after. It takes your body one hour to process one standard drink - a half pint of beer, small glass of wine or pub measure of spirits - and there's no quick fix. Nothing can help to remove alcohol from your body, only time.

Never ever drink and drive!

Reducing your risk

You should never drink and drive! Simple. If you are going to have a drink though, bear these in mind:

  • Never drink alcohol on an empty stomach.
  • Alternate each drink with a glass of water.
  • Try to avoid rounds. This can often result in drinking quicker or more than you had intended.
  • Plan ahead and arrange an alternative way to travel the night you are drinking and the morning after.

 

Quotedevil