Council Votes to Let Some Drink & Drive
The County Kerry Council in southwest Ireland recently passed a motion that would allow rural drivers to legally drive while under the influence of alcohol.
The council voted 5 to 3 – with 12 absent and seven abstaining – to issue special permits to people who live in rural areas and wish to drive home on remote country roads after consuming two to three alcoholic beverages.
Councilor and County Kerry pub owner Danny Healy-Rae introduced the bill, arguing that citizens driving while intoxicated in rural areas have never killed anyone. He defended the measure by asserting that it would prevent loneliness and reduce the risk of suicides.
“A lot of these people are living in isolated rural areas where there’s no public transport of any kind, and they end up at home looking at the four walls, night in and night out, because they don’t want to take the risk of losing their license,” Healy-Rae said.
While we agree that an evening at the pub with friends enjoying a tipple or two can be the cure for loneliness; we could never agree that the public sanctioning of drinking and driving is a good idea.
Ireland is known for it’s tough drunk driving laws which have been credited with reducing the number of people killed in recent years. The overall number of deaths has decreased by 56% in the last five years.
The Irish Department of Transport has voiced it’s opposition to the proposal, citing the overwhelming evidence linking alcohol consumption with impaired driving.
“Unfortunately, rural areas are among the most dangerous roads in Ireland. We need to be looking at how to make our roads safer, particularly in rural areas, instead of trying to reverse existing measures, which are clearly working,” said an Irish Department of Transport spokesperson.
As for us, we’ll take the four walls at home any day over the four walls of a jail cell, or the mind-crippling knowledge that you’ve ruined a life. That’s where you’ll find us on any given night, in the living room, feet up by the fire. Enjoying a perfect tipple poured over one of our handcrafted whiskey stones. Drinking responsibly.