Northern Ireland takes big step towards lower drink drive limit and GDL

12.00 | 2 July 2015 | | 3 comments

Northern Ireland Assembly members have given their backing to the Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill which will see lower drink drive limits, a more structured approach to learning to drive, and restrictions on new young drivers carrying passengers immediately after passing the test.

The drink drive proposals will see the introduction of a lower limit as introduced in Scotland in December 2014, in tandem with a graduated drink drive penalty scheme. The new law will reduce the limit from 80mg in every 100 ml of blood, to 50 mg in every 100 ml of blood.

The Assembly gave its backing to new drivers up to the age of 24 not being allowed to carry more than one young passenger (aged 14-20yrs, except immediate family members) during the six months after they pass their test, between the hours of 10pm and 6am.

Mark H Durkan, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, said: “This is an important milestone towards reducing deaths on our roads.

“I welcome Assembly backing for the lower drink drive limits, for a new graduated driver licensing scheme, and a new requirement for quad drivers to wear a helmet when riding on roads.

“There is compelling evidence of the heightened risk of collisions when new young drivers carry teenage passengers. Young drivers carrying two young passengers are twice as likely to be killed as driving alone, and four times more likely to die if carrying three young passengers.

“The Assembly has given its backing for young people not carrying passengers during night-time hours, for the first six months after they pass their test. I would like to see this being for the full 24 hours and feel there is still work to be done to the legislation regarding that."

The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill was introduced to the Assembly on 12 May 2014. Following its second stage debate and committee scrutiny, the Bill returned to the Assembly on 29 June 2015 for its consideration stage. The Bill will now go to further consideration stage.


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    From my study – In Northern Ireland, 31% of drivers involved in fatal collisions were aged between 17 and 25 years.

    In 53% of those cases, the driver had consumed alcohol over the legal limit, ranging from 97mg per 100 ml to approx. 280mg per 100 ml. In four of these cases, evidence of drugs e.g. cocaine, cannabis or Diazepam were found in the driver’s blood.

    Only one young driver had a provisional licence.

    Overall there was evidence of alcohol or drugs was found in the blood of the driver responsible (all ages) for the collision in 37% of the cases that I analysed where a fatality occurred, ranging from 10 mg per 100 ml to 329 mg per 100 ml of alcohol – average was 164 mg per 100 ml.

    In 19% there was evidence of drugs including cannabis and cocaine.

    Maybe one day somebody will take the time to recognise that Northern Ireland has a major problem with alcohol and drugs.

    Just saying…

    Elaine, Northern Ireland
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Also there are suggestions to slip into the bill that young/any riders who receive training and obtain their CBT (Compulsory Basic Training) eg 17 year old on a 125cc machine would no longer be able to ride on the road unless accompanied by an AMI (Approved Motorcycle Instructor) thus “banning” young riders from a cheap-er means of personal transport.

    Also there is a consultation to “slip” into the Bill the mandatory wearing of helmets for trike riders and their passengers.

    Trevor Baird Northern Ireland
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Well done them…so much for a United Kingdom though!

    Tina Langley
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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