In Kilgarvan, a small Irish town, a new law was passed that allows people to obtain “permits” that allow them to have a few drinks at the local pub and the drive home. Contrary to everything taught in driver’s ed, this law flies in the face of the progress that has been made against drinking and driving over several decades.
As it so happens, the motion was proposed by a local pub-owner and politician Danny Healy-Rae who clearly has a vested interested in this law. Healy-Rae believes “the measure will help preserve pub culture, lower the risk of suicide and attack isolation in the small town”.The Irish government, as is true in many countries, has worked hard to curtail drinking and driving. Recently very strict laws have been enacted to that effect. Since the initiation of these new laws there has been a substantial decline in drunk driving incidents. According to Healy-Rae, this new motion in Kilgarvan is only supposed to apply to “elderly people who live in very remote places.” However, any law that encourages people to drink and drive makes no sense and has the potential to create a safety hazard. There are other ways to provide a social opportunities such as:
- Provide limited public transportation to and from the pubs.
- Pub owners can provide private transportation.
- A local designated driver can perform the driving duties on a rotating basis.
- Find other non-drinking social activities.
Especially considering that drinking and driving is still a problem as reported in last week’s blog article, society needs to continue being diligent in curtailing drivers who drink. It’s a clear safety issue that affects both the driver and all of those in the surrounding areas.