Over the past few months the Government have been advocating strongly for changes to the drink driving laws that will see harsher punishments being handed out to those found guilty of committing such offences.
Under the new proposals set out by the Minister for Transport Shane Ross those found guilty will be automatically banned from driving rather than been given penalty points and a ticking off by the Gardai.
However is the latest proposals that will also see penalty points being handed out to those found guilty of having the bare minimum of alcohol in their system, really enough to really make a difference and keep Irish roads safer for everyone.
Altough the number of drink driving cases has fallen over the past twenty years, the country is still plagued with a rather disturbing trend that see’s hundreds of lives been taken away each year by those who do not have the common sense to leave the car keys at home before attending their local.
In a culture that is prominently dominated by drink, it seems that those who enjoy their fair share of drink at the weekend would rather risk the lives of others rather than splash out on alternative mode of transportation home even though they have no problem in forking out an extra few euro across the bar when they see fit to do so.
We all know every week we the Irish public hear either through friends, work colleagues or even the media that someone somewhere has lost a loved one due to the thoughtless of someone else who couldn’t help themselves by selfishly getting behind the wheel even though they knew full well they were incapable of walking in a straight line let alone drive a vehicle.
The problem which is a never ending plague that not only just grips this country but other countries worldwide has been seemingly ignored for far too a long as offenders and sometimes repeat offenders have been given little more than a slap on wrist even though lives have been lost in the meantime.
We as a nation only seem to tackle the problem when its too late by handing out less than adequate sentences in our courts to those who have shamefully taken or endangered the life of an innocent person.
Over the past week we have learned that the British Government have seeeningly had enough of a problem that will always go on unless drastic changes to the law stops it in its tracks.
Under new proposals the UK want to see all those who kill or serverly injure others whilst intoxicated behind the wheel being given automatic life sentences (which is 25 years behind bars) to those found guilty of committing such an offence.
Although the tougher sentences has yet to go to parliament in the UK, we here can’t help but wonder why such punishments have not yet been considered here.
Sure the Irish Government may argue that the courts system here does more than enough to punish those who take a life whilst intoxicated behind the wheel, but we the Irish public know that even the most serious of offences always end up with rather lenient sentences being handed out whilst the more minor offences here see somewhat harsher sentences being passed out much to the public’s disbelief.
Even though the idea of longer prison sentences for those found guilty of such horrific offences would be a step in the right direction, surely the Government must address the problem sooner rather than waiting for such a heartbreaking scenarios to occur.
Many in the Dail may feel that the latest changes will go a long way to halting the problem but there certainly has to be more done to tackle the issue but not only with those guilty of drink driving but publicans who knowingly supply their customers alcohol before they get behind the wheel.
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