Local coroner questions new drink-driving proposals

A leading coroner says he wants more debate and proof before the Government decides to rubber stamp laws to reduce the drink-driving limits.

Dr.Denis McCauley, GP and Coroner for Donegal North East, says he is not convinced the provision of the Road Traffic Act 2010 to reduce drink driving limits from 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml will have any benefit.

Dr.McCauley from Ballybofey, said he wants a debate on the plan before it is finalised in law as is expected in the Autumn.

He added that he wants to see a “cost benefit analysis” for the reduction saying an awful lot of money has to be spent getting it down.

But he said he did not want the message to go out that he was condoning someone going out and having three pints and then jumping into their car.

He said he wanted a debate that will prove that we need this reduction, and If the statistics show that a reduction from 80mgs to 50mgs will have a major impact, then he will be the first to hold his hands up and support it.

While the current drink driving level of80mg/100ml is likely to be reduced to 50mg/100ml, other doctors feel the level should be lowered to a zero level.

A recent Irish Medical Organisation conference in Kerry recently heard a call on Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar to reduce the drink driving level immediately.

However Dr.McCauley says one of the reasons why he wants the proposed reduction debated is because he feels it may have a very negative affect on social interaction in rural Ireland.