Reality check needed for drunken drivers

Published 27/10/2015 | 00:00

Less than half of the drink driving cases brought to court result in convictions.
Less than half of the drink driving cases brought to court result in convictions.

It was reported this week that convictions are secured in less than half of the drunken driving cases brought before the courts in Ireland.

So where is it all going wrong and how can so many cases end up being dismissed?

It has been proposed that an overhaul of road traffic legislation is needed but this sort of thing can take months, if not years and in the meantime countless people are still getting behind the wheel while under the influence.

It's not just alcohol either that is a problem, but a wide array of intoxicants that are posing untold threats to both innocent people and the drivers that are stupid enough to take such a chance.

Taking these figures into account there is no doubt that some drastic changes are needed but answers are needed as to why so many cases are slipping through the net.

Is it a case of legal loopholes or delays, professional incompetance or simply that lots and lots of innocent people are being dragged to court accused of drunken driving?

I don't know, but I'm sure its not the latter.

We had made great strides in recent years in terms of awareness regarding the dangers of drunken driving but it appears that it is still a problem.

Gradual reductions in permitted limits and heftier penalties served to assist in attacking the issue and when coupled with education, it appeared that change was happening.

Where once the majority of customers in any pub on a Saturday night would be taken home by a driver that had consumed a certain amount of alcohol, this became socially unacceptable - and rightly so.

While those who continue to ignore the law in the misguided belief that they can handle their drink and pose no threat to others are still behind the wheel, the danger remains for all of us.

There is a real resentment amongst this group that the killjoys are seeking to deprive them of their only vice and to ruin what little social life they have but this really isn't the case.

The only aim is to make the roads as safe as they can be.

Anyone who truly believes that they can drink and drive as carefully as they do whilst sober needs a real reality check but how can they get this if they are brought to court only to have their case dismissed?

Wexford People

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