It would be safe to assume that imposing tougher drunk driving laws would encourage people to think twice about getting behind the wheel after downing one pint too many. It seems to have had an affect on farmers in Rural Ireland, but according to Councilmen in Kerry, Ireland, that's a problem.
Rather than focus on the incredible drop in road-related deaths since Ireland began imposing new blood-alcohol levels on drivers in 2011, this group of politicians argue that farmers are suffering from boredom and depression because the new laws keep them from commuting to and from bars while intoxicated. A fear of getting caught keeps them isolated in their homes, and hurts the business of local pubs. A few are even going so far as to call it an “epidemic.”
Danny Healy-Rae, a councilman in Kerry who proposed the measure, argues that permits should be issued to allow those who consume 2-3 pints to drive home as long as they stay below 30 mph (50 kph). Ireland recently lowered the alcohol blood limit to .05, which equates to roughly two pints of beer, depending on type of beer, food eaten, and time of absorption, distribution, and elimination from the body.
He also argues tractors do not go fast enough to kill anyone so tipsy farmers should be allowed to drive their tractors home. In the last six years, however, some cite that roughly 27 children died resulting from accidents involving tractors or machinery in Ireland. That doesn't even take into consideration how many adults passed away from similar incidents. This is only one of many arguments that can be brought against Healy-Rae's claims.
Conor Cullen, a spokesman for Alcohol Action Ireland makes quite an obvious point, stating, “The link between alcohol use and suicide has been well established and drinking alcohol will exacerbate, not alleviate, any mental health difficulties that a person may be struggling with, such as depression or anxiety.”
While this proposed measure was not passed (big surprise there), what do you think of it? How would a measure like this fare in our state?