Naming drink drivers won't reduce offences

By Deborah Coleman - Straight Talking

Minister Shane Ross.
Minister Shane Ross.

I'm surprised that there is still so much debate about the Minister for Transport's plan to 'name and shame' those who drink and drive.

There is a big misconception that this is someway going to deter motorists from getting behing the wheel while intoxicated.

Shane Ross's plan is well meaning but it will simply cost the State more money and resources for very little reward. Firsty, people convicted drink driving are already named publicly. In most counties local papers cover District Courts and convictions are a matter of public record. This has been a tradition in local press for generations and everyone in small towns know that the courts are a public forum.

As very often, those convicted of this offence appear before the courts again and again. I think Shane Ross is really doing his best to try and make the roads safer for everyone and I can understand why this would, on the surface think the 'naming and shaming' plan would reap benefits.

However, those who believe that drinking and driving is acceptable and who take such chances will not be deterred by the prospect of having their name printed on some sort of list.

This would be the last thing on their minds when they get behind the wheel.

Let's face it - if the fear of killing themselves or another innocent person, or losing their licence which they depend on for work isn't enough to make them see sense, then Minister Ross's list won't cost them a thought. The only thing that will really make people think more carefully about getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is the real risk that they will meet a checkpoint.

Unfortunately there just are not enough Garda resources to have checkpoints on every back road or on the outskirts of every town to detect those who cannot be responsible.

Chances are that drink drivers will get away with it on many occasions before they are caught, if ever. Campaigns such as those championed by Deputy Danny Healy-Rae to allow people to have one and a half units of alcohol and drive also totally confuse the issue because in truth any level of alcohol consumption impairs one's ability to drive.

When you have an elected politician condoning an act which has ruined many lives then it gives the impression that having a few drinks and driving is no big deal. This couldn't be further from the truth.

Wexford People

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