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‘Simple rule of thumb don’t drink & drive’ Supt warns JPC members

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Members of the Clare Joint Policing Committee have been reminded on the different Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit for drivers.

At the JPC’s first meeting of the year, Cllr Alan O’Callaghan had submitted a question to An Garda Síochána on drink driving limits for professional drivers. Limits all change when the vehicle is a truck, taxi, motorbike or if it is pulling a trailer. “A person driving on a normal car licence has the higher limit, a taxi driver working has a lower limit, when they are working they are on their lower limit,” Superintendent John Galvin explained.

All drivers have a BAC limit of 50 milligrams (mg), the limit for specified drivers, defined as learner or newly qualified drivers (for a period of two years after passing their driving test) or professional drivers (of buses, goods vehicles and public service vehicles) is 20mg.

If a driver cannot produce their driving licence when required to undergo a preliminary breath test, the lower limit of 20mg will apply until such time as the driver produces their licence.

A second question from Cllr O’Callaghan was in relation to learner drivers and what procedure was followed when their required accompanied qualified driver was drunk. “The accompanied driver cannot be breathalysed but we can give level of his intoxication from observation which would say he is not capable of being responsible for the learner driver,” Galvin outlined.

“There’s no clarity in that, it’s one word against the other,” O’Callaghan observed. “In the courts, a Garda giving evidence of intoxication due to his/her training and experience is deemed a first class witness,” Supt Galvin replied.

He added, “The learner driver isn’t covered to drive then, they are not insured if they don’t have an accompanied driver. An asleep person is deemed to be competent but a drunk person is not, if they were to be woke they could drive the person home whereas a drunk person can’t”.

The Fianna Fáil councillor stressed, “I am just trying to put clarity on this”, to which Galvin responded, “It is a bit confusing but it is in everyone’s interests, there is a simple rule of thumb don’t drink and drive”.

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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