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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

36

If You Ever Go Across the Sea to Ireland

...you can now* get moderately tanked before driving home (the equivalent of two or three drinks, which renders different sizes of people very different levels of tanked, some not at all), provided you're in a designated "remote" area, thanks to councillor Danny Healy-Rae:

“A lot of these people are living in isolated rural areas where there’s no public transport of any kind, and they end up at home looking at the four walls, night in and night out, because they don’t want to take the risk of losing their licence,” he told TheJournal.ie.

Ireland has been quite successful in recent years, it seems, in cutting down on their drunk driving (or "drink driving," because different countries have different names for things) fatalities, but Healy-Rae points out that the roads in question can't really be driven much faster than 30 miles an hour, and that depression is a killer too. Now, depression does not notoriously mix super-well with alcohol, but let's see how this goes, we guess.

*ETA: Well, maybe, if the Minister of Justice goes along with the narrowly-passed motion.



36 Comments / Post A Comment

rayray

Welcome to Ireland, folks; it's fine to run someone over and kill them because you have exercised your right to three pints at the pub, but god forbid we should allow the 'culture of death' that would be legislation legalizing abortion. *throws hands up in air*

Decca

@rayray It's also totally cool to admit to raping your daughter repeatedly over a period of ten years cause you'll just walk free on bail. Fantastic country, mine.

Nicole Cliffe

It made me a lot less sympathetic when Tom on "Downton" was rabbiting on about freedom, let me tell you that. NOT THAT PEOPLE SHOULDN'T BE FREE.

stuffisthings

@Decca Good god. I can't believe THAT is the decision the judge made AFTER weighing how he would be viewed by the general public!

mattewmc

jaja.. everything you'll ever need@t

meetapossum

I've read that it would be more like proposing an increase of legal blood alcohol limits from .05% to around .08% (U.S., UK, Canada levels).

SarahP

This isn't news to those of us in the US. WIth this legislation, Ireland is still stricter on drunk driving than the US! In the US, a BAC of under .08 is still considered safe for driving. For an average person, that's 3-4 drinks in an hour, vs the 2-3 in Ireland.

Decca

@SarahP In my experience, young Americans (a-lllll night, she wants the young Americans) are way less concerned about drinking and driving than young Irish people. I'm 22 and none of my peers at home would ever dream of driving after having a drink, even the more reckless or lawless amongst us. We grew up being bombarded with very graphic television ads showing the dangers of drink driving and the campaign has been really successful. When I was in the US, however, I'd regularly be at parties where people wouldn't think twice about driving home after a night's drinking. This is obviously not true for all Americans, but I saw it happening enough times to shock me.

It makes me so frustrated that parish-pump gombeens like the Healy-Rae clan are trying to undo the one important public safety campaign that seems to have worked in the last ten years. The Healy-Raes, for those readers who don't know, own a pub in a rural area.

Emma Peel

@SarahP 3-4 drinks in an hour seems high to me (or at least way too risky), especially since bar "drinks" are bigger than scientifically defined drinks, and because -- at least when you're drinking beer -- alcohol content makes a huge difference. I won't drive on more than one drink (as defined) per hour under any circumstances.

@Decca I think it's very region-specific? I've always lived in places in the US with decent public transportation and cabs, and I can only think of two instances when someone got behind the wheel in a questionable state. But in rural areas and small towns, it's definitely more common.

Decca

@Emma Peel I was in Boston, never less than ten minutes walk from the T and with good cab services. It was definitely not every American I met, but enough to make me notice.

Perhaps I was just hanging out with idiots, though. (Likely.)

meetapossum

@Decca I spent a summer in Ireland in 2002, and I distinctly remember the drunk driving PSAs when I was staying with a family there. They were incredibly graphic and certainly created visceral reaction in me. I've never seen any MADD or other ads even remotely close in the US.

KeLynn

@SarahP - Woah, 3-4 drinks an hour? 4 drinks in an hour and I'm hamsauced. I always thought you could have one drink in you and still drive (like, if you assume you can metabolize 1 drink an hour, then you can have 2 drinks at the same time then wait an hour and drive home while the 1 is still in your system, for example). But maybe I'm mixing up driving class "suggestions" and real information.

SarahP

@KeLynn These are "average" numbers, which mean 3-4 standard drinks for someone who has at least a little food in their belly and is around 150 lbs (less if male, more if female). But obviously individual metabolisms and circumstances vary.

Annnd also personal tolerance! I wouldn't trust myself to be a safe driver if I had 2 drinks over the course of an hour, even though legally I would be fine.

Ophelia

@meetapossum Agreed. I lived in Ireland for a year, and my (American) friends and I still talk about those ads.

Verity

@meetapossum UK drink driving ads are pretty scary as well. I don't drive (yet) but cannot imagine contemplating driving drunk, Just In Case.

(As a teenager, I was babysitting one evening and the parents came home quite late. The child's stepdad insisted on driving me home, despite my saying that it was a ten-minute walk and I would be fine, really; as we got in the car, he said, "I've only had a few drinks, so I'm fine to drive". Spent the short journey clutching the handle of the car door in blind terror.)

Decca

@Ophelia Although they do a lot of good work, those ads ruined a Samantha Mumba song for me.

Verity

@Decca The injustice!

KeLynn

@SarahP Oh, I know they're average, and even if I could legally drink after 4 drinks an hour, I wouldn't. I'm just surprised it would even be legal!

Speaking of, I was recently on some island in MI where the whole point is to get drunk (I cannot remember the name - not Kelley's Island, the other one, if anyone knows what I'm talking about), every bar had breathalyzer machines. They were more for novelty than safety I'm sure, since the whole island is super small and there's no reason to need a car, but I don't know why every bar in the world doesn't have those. It would be so convenient if you and a friend were arguing about whether she's fit to drive.

bulba

@Decca Me too! I loved Samantha Mumba. Sad times. Although the phrase "parish pump gombeens" makes me happy. I think we should just fence the Healy-Raes in somewhere, take the warning labels off everything and let nature take its course. Mentalists.

bulba

@Decca Me too! I loved Samantha Mumba. Sad times. Although the phrase "parish pump gombeens" makes me happy. I think we should just fence the Healy-Raes in somewhere, take the warning labels off everything and let nature take its course. Mentalists.

Speirbhean

It might be useful to point out that this article is factually incorrect. This was a proposal put to a local authority within the county of Kerry, 12 councillors were absent for the vote, and 5 councillors were able to pass this motion. This is not law, as the proposal will have to go to the (national) Minister for Justice, who will not allow it to become law.

I realise it makes for a great, sensationalized headline, but we're not the simple drunkards that the world so wishes we were. Also, please fact-check in future :)

shadowkitty

@Speirbhean This is not a good day to be from Kerry, still :(

Speirbhean

@shadowkitty It's okay, every part of the world has their own version of the Healy-Rae gang. I enjoy the source that's now attached to this piece - a Daily Fail article, complete with a red-haired person taking a breathalyzer test. Magnificent.

Once more with feeling - the Minister for Justice will NOT allow this to become law.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

During the 2011 Montana Legislature, a lawmaker actually stood up and said the state's open-container law (no driving with an open container of booze) tears apart the cultural fabric of small towns in Big Sky Country, because going to a bar and driving home is just "a way of life" here. No joke.

meetapossum

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose This smells vaguely of my mom's justification that driving after drinking/drunk when she was in her 20s was "different" because there were "less people and cars." No, Mom, I told her. You were stupid kids.

Ophelia

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose I remember being totally boggled when I visited Louisiana and discovered that they had a DRIVE-THROUGH LIQUOR STORE.

Verity

@Ophelia Wait. What?

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Ophelia There's one of those (or used to be) in Butte, Montana.

philomene

@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose in the late '90s I ordered two mixed drinks from a drive thru bar in northern Wyoming just to see if I could. I was flabbergasted that it worked. This was the same time that Montana had no speed limit, so it was generally lawless around there I guess. Assuming things have changed a bit since then

madgemmc

@Ophelia yeah, i heard about this drive through liquor-store thing from an american friend (i'm from the UK) and was STUNNED that this COULD BE a thing, never mind WAS A THING.

stuffisthings

Yep, it's almost impossible to kill someone while driving drunk on a remote country road. That's why all the drunk driving fatalities you read about take place in Times Square on a Saturday afternoon.

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Nayab Atif@facebook

It makes me so frustrated that parish-pump gombeens like the Healy-Rae clan are trying to undo the one important public safety campaign that seems to have worked in the last ten years. The Healy-Raes, for those readers who don't know, own a pub in a rural area
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