Green Room

Hot new idea in Ireland: Legalizing drunk driving in rural areas

posted at 2:28 pm on January 23, 2013 by

Someone on Twitter posted this yesterday with the obvious joke: “Or, as the Irish call it, ‘driving.’” The rationale for the policy is interesting, though. It’s not about mainstreaming drunkenness, it’s about removing a deterrent to socializing for otherwise isolated farm-dwellers. If they can’t raise a pint together, they’ll raise a pint alone. Or build a meth lab in the barn. Either way, bad outcome.

What could go wrong?

He said his proposal would bring back a social outlet for lonely people in rural areas that had been lost after stricter drink-drive laws were introduced.

Healy-Rae, who owns a pub in Kilgarvan, County Kerry, said it would benefit people who are “looking at four walls”, and could help prevent mental illness.

“They’re travelling in very minor roads, often on tractors, with very little traffic and it’s not right they’re being treated the same as the rest of the travelling public and they have never killed anyone.

“The only outlet they have then is to take home a bottle of whiskey and they’re falling into depression, and suicide for some of them is the sad way out,” he added.

Shouldn’t reclusive city-dwelling beta males also be eligible for permits like this? Ahem.

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Can’t see how it would make any difference? Anyone who has driven in Ireland will tell you they all drive like the wife-beating psychotic drunks that are…the Irish.

CorporatePiggy on January 23, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Sheep hardest hit.

Jeddite on January 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

Reclusive city-dwelling beta males have cars?

Seth Halpern on January 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Driving drunk should not be illegal. Bad driving that results in harm against others should be. The punishment should fit the harm. Particularly when the threshold is so low as to make a complete and utter mockery of the label DRUNK.

astonerii on January 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Shouldn’t reclusive city-dwelling beta males also be eligible for permits like this? Ahem.

You live in New York City AP, get a parking space? Forget about it…

SWalker on January 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

astonerii on January 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

In Arizona the limit is anything over 0.0000000% BAC. But then they are kind of whacky. They don’t accept Daylight Savings Time and they keep electing Juan McCainos.

CorporatePiggy on January 23, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Driving drunk should not be illegal. Bad driving that results in harm against others should be. The punishment should fit the harm. Particularly when the threshold is so low as to make a complete and utter mockery of the label DRUNK.

astonerii on January 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

I’ve long said they should have a designated driving hour on back roads for drivers who have been drinking, with higher BAC limits. Sober drivers who use those roads between, say 10:00-11:00 PM, pays their money and takes their chances.

petefrt on January 23, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Old Irish saying:
“A true Irishman is not really drunk so long as he can hold onto a blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth.”

(my wife is half Irish)

dentarthurdent on January 23, 2013 at 3:49 PM

As an Irishman with a comically common last name, I support this. I do not exactly understand the reasoning though. They are drunk, then get sad and want to drive?

antisense on January 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Sheep hardest hit.

Jeddite on January 23, 2013 at 2:38 PM

I have some great photos of sheep standing in the middle of roads in Ireland. As a tourist driving there, how would one know if there are drunks driving anyway? They all drive like maniac speed demons on the back roads. I swear they have the GPSes in rental cars set to “kill” as the preferred routes are always through the rocky cliffs, hedgerows and lowlands on one lane roads.

Yes, I’d go back in a heartbeat. :D

Fallon on January 23, 2013 at 4:05 PM

They could just decide to take a page from Eric Holder’s Selective Enforcement Handbook.

TexasDan on January 23, 2013 at 4:20 PM

Actually, It makes sense to me.

FOWG1 on January 23, 2013 at 4:49 PM

If my math is right, it merely would allow rural Irish to legally drive with a BAC that, before the Modern Temperance Movement, was legal here.

Steve Eggleston on January 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

I am a bit astonished by a few of the comments here. Really? I can only hope there are some missing /sarc tags.

A rural environment with few cars on the roads is exactly where I live. Innocent people get killed by drunk drivers here on a regular basis. Punishment after the fact, as someone suggested above, is of little use in the many cases where the drunks kill themselves, too.

acasilaco on January 23, 2013 at 5:46 PM

Good to see the Irish beating the Russians to the punch.

JimLennon on January 23, 2013 at 6:08 PM

“Or, as the Irish call it, ‘driving.’”

lol.

Tim_CA on January 23, 2013 at 6:33 PM

And while you’re at it, why not start up a national Russian Roulette team? Good Lord. This is the Irish equivalent of American’s sudden interest in weed: legalizing drowning the pain with chemicals instead of fixing any of the root problems.

MelonCollie on January 23, 2013 at 7:17 PM

I dunno about making it legal, but giving local law enforcement more discretion would probably be useful. Sheriff Andy always knew how to handle drunks better than those big-shots from Mount Pilot.

Knott Buyinit on January 23, 2013 at 7:19 PM

If my math is right, it merely would allow rural Irish to legally drive with a BAC that, before the Modern Temperance Movement, was legal here.

Steve Eggleston on January 23, 2013 at 5:27 PM

I think your math is right. If the Modern Temperance Movement were serious about saving lives, they’d lobby to require drivers to wear crash helmets. Crash helmets would save far more lives than DWI drivers destroy, but safety is not their main concern.

petefrt on January 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

I remember the good old days when you could drink and drive as long as you weren’t drunk. Good times. Nowadays just another method of throwing the book at law abiding citizens. too many dangers laws.

AH_C on January 23, 2013 at 7:56 PM

The 0.08 BAC limit does a lot of harm.
It makes late night police cruising a game of ‘gotcha’ – where people perfectly able to get home safely are criminalized.
Try driving in the ‘burbs’ after 1:30AM and see how fast you get stopped – regardless of your sobriety.
You will be told you crossed the middle line (you didn’t), or that you have a light that “seemed” to be out (it won’t be).

The Gubmint makes a LOT of money on arrests made with no probable cause.
The buddies of the Gubmint in this case include alchohol ‘counselors’, lawyers and insurance companies.
This has ended being able to go out for a couple of drinks on a Friday or saturday nights for people who do not have cab service where they live.

HammerNH on January 23, 2013 at 8:05 PM

If the Modern Temperance Movement were serious about saving lives, they’d lobby to require drivers to wear crash helmets. Crash helmets would save far more lives than DWI drivers destroy, but safety is not their main concern.

petefrt on January 23, 2013 at 7:35 PM

What a bunch of thumb-sucking bilge. We only are able to pass laws in some places to make people wear a helmet on their fricking motorcycle because they are utterly unprotected in a crash.

Try getting to make people wear helmets in their cars and you’ll be laughed out of the room.

MelonCollie on January 23, 2013 at 8:18 PM

What about drunk driving tests? I’ve known some people who are just awful drivers. I’m sure I could drive better drunk than they can sober.

besser tot als rot on January 23, 2013 at 8:23 PM

We have solved this problem in Minnesota. The only condition is that one must be driving a Segway to be exempt from the DWI laws.

http://www.crookstontimes.com/article/20130123/NEWS/130129894/1001/NEWS

Northside on January 23, 2013 at 8:32 PM

As an Irishman with a comically common last name, I support this. I do not exactly understand the reasoning though. They are drunk, then get sad and want to drive?

antisense on January 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Near the tail end of the so-called “Celtic Tiger” period, 2 things happened in Ireland:

1. Ireland “modernized” its laws to better fit in with the standards of the EU and other developed countries (nanny statism). So just like in the US, BAC limits became farcically strict. Because what kind of misanthropic evildoer would oppose “commonsense solutions that will make children and innocent people safer” *coughguns2013cough*?

2. Literally THOUSANDS of pubs closed. Used to be basically anywhere there were more than about 5 houses within a quarter mile there’d be a pub. Walking, driving, it didn’t matter, getting to one was about as big of a journey as going down to the end of your (long rural) driveway.

Now, the Irish are world class beer and whiskey connosieurs. So they drink, as always, and prospects are dim, and some are sad because they just want to be Irish but all kind of busybody bureaucrats and crony bankers have ruined the way of life. Depressing.

Irish need to reopen pubs, thousands of them, and roll back the laws they “progressively” erected to follow the US and Europe countries.

Daikokuco on January 23, 2013 at 9:37 PM

We have solved this problem in Minnesota. The only condition is that one must be driving a Segway to be exempt from the DWI laws.

http://www.crookstontimes.com/article/20130123/NEWS/130129894/1001/NEWS

Northside on January 23, 2013 at 8:32 PM

LMAO…a Drunk While Being a self-important D-bag with too much money exemption.

Hilarious.

Tim_CA on January 23, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Drunk driving as suicide-prevention? Who knew?

olesparkie on January 24, 2013 at 7:57 AM

Daikokuco on January 23, 2013 at 9:37 PM

Sad. I’ve long had an affection for the Irish and their spirit. Hate to see it washed out by the PC Euroweenies.

petefrt on January 24, 2013 at 8:23 AM

It’s stupid ideas like these are what’s going to make alcohol illegal again.

Omega_Rage on January 24, 2013 at 8:47 AM

It’s stupid ideas like these are what’s going to make alcohol illegal again.

Omega_Rage on January 24, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Probably only in your beer-soaked martyr fantasies, but it sure doesn’t make you look very good!

I mean really now. Imagine for a moment seeing someone on a busy road who is swerving all over the place with one hand on the wheel and the other hand on a bottle. You frantically call the police on your cell phone because the moron is going to kill himself and probably someone else in a matter of minutes, only to be told “sorry, drunk driving is legal now.”

Imagine the horror setting in as you realize that neither you nor the police can get this idiot off the road before he causes a wreck.

“Stupid” does not even begin to describe this idea.

MelonCollie on January 24, 2013 at 10:11 AM

Our .08 BAC law is utterly ridiculous along with the 21 year old drinking age. And, this law in Ireland is equally as ridiculous.

SC.Charlie on January 24, 2013 at 11:12 AM

What difference at this point does it make?

In our efforts to be inclusive, we will exclude anybody who isn’t inclusive … which means we will have to exclude yourselves.

The wonders of Möbius logic.

J_Crater on January 24, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Put a governor on the throttle that limits the speed, linked to a breathalyzer. The drunker you are, the slower your car can go. Add some flashing lights or something. Get near a car going 12 miles per hour on a rural road lit up like a christmas tree and be very, very careful.

Not any stupider than any of the other suggestions!

Allahs vulva on January 24, 2013 at 12:57 PM