Older people more likely to be caught drunk driving
The myth that young people are more likely to drink and drive has been proved wrong by statistics – in the last five years, the number of people aged 31 and over who were caught driving after drinking was higher than the number people aged between 18 and 30 who committed the same offence. In fact, between January and August this year, only 24 people aged between 1830 were caught drink driving, with the number of people aged over 31 reaching 69, which is over double the number.
The total number of drivers caught drinking and driving so far this year – 93 – is an indication that there could be a reduction in the number of such offences when compared to previous years.
Statistics obtained from the police show that 18 to 30-year-olds have in the last five years been the least likely to be found under the influence of alcohol while driving, with figures showing that in 2012, 82 people between the ages of 18 and 30 were found drunk driving compared to 88 people over 31 years of age; in 2013, 66 people between the ages of 18-30 years were found drunk driving compared to 110 people over 31 years old; in 2014, 98 people between the ages of 18-30 years were found drunk driving compared to 143 people over 31; in 2015, 68 people between the ages of 18-30 years were found drunk driving compared to 104 people over 31 and in 2016, 75 people between the ages of 18-30 years were found drunk driving compared to 119 people over 31.
Overall, the number of drivers caught under the influence of alcohol had increased substantially from 2012 to 2014, from 170 to 241. The numbers went down to 172 in 2015 and then 194 in 2016, making 2014 still the year with the worst record.
In October of 2016 a national alcohol policy was launched including a proposal for the alcohol limit to be slashed from 0.8g of alcohol per litre of blood to 0.5g, which is the EU average.
A spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister had said the current limit of 0.8g of alcohol per litre of blood, the highest in the EU, would be reduced to around 0.5g – the EU average – under new proposals. The limit was planned to be set at 0.2g for drivers who have held their licence for less than two years, motorcyclists and drivers of large vehicles, while a zero alcohol limit was set for bus, taxi and minibus drivers.
There was also a proposal that first-time offenders who are over the limit are issued with a €1,200 fine and possibly even a licence suspension of between a few months and three years.
The proposals are still to be implemented.