Cullen fails to enact drink-driving provision

Martin Cullen, the Minister for Transport, has failed to enact a provision in the Road Traffic Act 2006 allowing for automatic disqualification for drink driving. He has also failed to enact provisions relating to provisional licenses which he says will reduce long-term reliance on provisional licenses, a goal that was set out in the government's Road to Safety strategy.

In the Road Traffic Act, introduced on the 5 July, a provision allows for automatic and on-the-spot disqualification, and a fine of €300, for drivers who test positive for alcohol levels of between 80mg and 100mg per 100ml of blood.

But for this provision to come in Minster for Transport, Martin Cullen, must introduce a regulation. He has not done this yet and the Department of Transport says there is no timeframe for when it will be enacted.

Additionally there are provisions relating to learner permits which could see the introduction of a requirement for learner drivers to undergo a course of instruction before being granted a license, the establishment of a minimum period of instruction before drivers can apply for a test and the introduction of practical training for motorcyclists before they are allowed on the road.

When introducing the bill to the Oireachtas in June, Cullen said these provisions would "reduce long-term reliance on provisional licenses as provided for in the government's road-safety strategy".

At present there are 404,607 drivers in Ireland with provisional licenses and 135,000 people waiting to sit driving tests. For these provisions to become operational, Cullen must introduce regulations – this has not been done.

The Department of Transport said there was no date set for their introduction.