Some ideas are brilliant—really, they are! And some are, well, less than brilliant. Drinking and driving. Less than brilliant, in my opinion. However, in a rural area of southwest Ireland, the County Kerry Council has passed a motion that would allow drivers to drive legally under the influence of alcohol. In his proposal outline, PUB OWNER–Danny Healy-Rae wrote: ‘To ask the Minister for Justice to introduce legislation to allow Gardaí to issue permits to people living in rural isolated areas to allow them to drive home from their nearest pub after having two or three drinks on little used roads driving at very low speeds – to be issued at the discretion of the local Garda.”
The vote was 5-3. One must keep in mind that there were 12 absent and 7 abstaining. Of course, I already see a problem in their passing anything with so few participating. And it is probably wrong to wonder if the absentees were in a pub drinking when the vote took place, but I digress. The bill is backed up by an interesting argument. Mr. Healy-Rae states that no one has ever been killed on a rural road while driving intoxicated and it would “prevent loneliness, and reduce the risk of suicide”. I, of course, have NEVER seen a lonely person drinking in a bar… that’s just crazy talk.
I suppose I take umbrage to this bill because it would issue special permits to those living in rural areas to drive home after consuming 2 to 3 drinks. Am I to believe that the person to trust with this authority is the person in the pub, throwing back a few? There are just too many variables. Suppose someone has 5 drinks and WALKS home in the lovely rural area, only to be hit by the permit holding driver?
The truth is Ireland is actually quite tough when it comes to drinking and driving laws, and overall deaths accredited to drunk driving has gone down 56% in the last 5 years. With this change, however small this rural area is–we are talking slippery slope here, people.
To me, it seems complete hypocrisy to push and promote drinking responsibly with handing out permits to a few who we have to trust will follow the bill to the letter of law. People don’t always follow the letter of the law. Bending the law is not unheard of and laws can seem pretty flexible when your blood alcohol level is high enough to be measured. One person’s short drive might wind up to be 20 minutes away. Perhaps one lost count after that second drink, and three more third drinks were consumed. One persons’ driving slowly is not another’s. Personally, I know the speed limit is 55, but have I ever driven it? (Rhetorical question.)
I have to say… REALLY? Do you really think this is a good idea?