Nam­ing drink driv­ers won’t re­duce of­fences

Bray People - - OPINION - With Deb­o­rah Cole­man

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.

Min­is­ter Shane Ross.

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