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08/07/2010

European Alcohol Policy Alliance welcomes Ireland's new lower drink drive limits

Eurocare, the European Alcohol Policy Alliance, welcomes the passing of legislation in the Irish parliament lowering the drink driving limit and allowing for mandatory alcohol testing in injury-related accidents.

The Road Traffic Bill 2009, which was passed in the Irish parliament late on Wednesday night (July 7), reduces the Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) for drivers from the current limit of 80mg to 50mg, and to 20mg for novice and professional drivers. It also introduces mandatory testing of all drivers involved in collisions in Ireland where injury occurs.

Marian Skar, Secretary General of Eurocare, a European-wide advocacy group which campaigns to reduce alcohol-related harms, said: ‘The passing of the Road Traffic Bill 2009 is a massive step for Ireland, as it brings the Republic in line with other countries in the European Union which have introduced these measures and reduced road deaths significantly as a result. Now strict enforcement of this legislation is crucial for it to be effective'

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity in Ireland for alcohol-related issues, congratulated both the Government and the Opposition parties who supported the Bill.

Alcohol Action Ireland Director Fiona Ryan said: ‘Some 100 people have died on our roads so far this year and it is estimated that 1 in 3 road crashes in Ireland are alcohol related. The lowering of the drink drive limit will ensure greater safety for all of us using the roads'

Research has shown that a reduction in drink driving limits have a direct impact on the number of deaths and injuries of road users. When the limit was reduced from 0.08 to 0.05 in New South Wales in Australia, for instance, fatal collisions fell by 8% and serious collisions by 7%, while in Queensland, fatal collisions fell by 18% and serious collisions by 14%

Notes to editors:

Media contacts: Eurocare Secretariat Tel: + 32 2 233 3874 (aleksandra.kaczmarek@eurocare.org)
Alcohol Action Ireland (cathy@alcoholactionireland.ie)

EUROCARE (The European Alcohol Policy Alliance) is an alliance of organizations working on the prevention and reduction of alcohol related harm in Europe. Member organisations are involved in research and advocacy, as well as in the provision of counselling services and residential support for problem drinkers, the provision of workplace and school based programmes and the provision of information to the public.

Eurocare advocates the prevention of alcohol related harm in Europe through effective evidence based alcohol policy. www.eurocare.org
Tel:+32 2 736 05 72

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) is a national charity for alcohol-related issues. AAI work involves providing information on alcohol-related issues, creating awareness of alcohol-related harm and offering potential policy solutions for reducing that harm. www.alcoholireland.ie

Tel: +353 1 878 0610/ +353 87 995 0186