Question: I’ve heard the law around drink driving changed recently. What has changed?
Answer : Yes, the law around drink driving has changed.
Since October 26 last year, under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, drivers who previously got three penalty points for certain drink driving offences will now be disqualified from driving for three months instead.
It is an offence to drive in a public place if the level of alcohol in your blood, breath or urine is above the prescribed alcohol limit.
There are different alcohol limits for new drivers and experienced drivers.
New drivers are drivers with learner permits or drivers who have held a driving licence for two years or less, or people without a valid licence or permit.
Drink driving offences can be dealt with through the administrative penalty system or the court system. However, the administrative penalty system only applies in certain cases, for example, where the driver has a valid licence or permit and their alcohol intake is below a certain level.
The recent legislation changes the additional penalty for experienced drivers found with the lowest levels of alcohol in their system. These levels are:
l 51mg to 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood
l 68mg to 107mg of alcohol per 100ml of urine
l 23mg to 35mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath
Previously, experienced drivers found with these levels of alcohol would be fined €200, and get an additional penalty of 3 penalty points.
Now, these drivers will get the same €200 fine, but will also be disqualified from driving for three months.
Further information is available from citizensinformation.ie and the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000. Information is also available from your local Citizens Information Office at: Newbridge CIC, Cutlery Road, Newbridge, tel: 0761 07 8300; Naas CIC, Basin Street, Naas; tel: 0761 07 8280.