Lowering of the alcohol limits for drivers in Ireland and the analytical impact

The Road Traffic Act (RTA) 2010 was enacted on 28th October 2011 in the Republic of Ireland. This introduced two lower alcohol limits while retaining three higher penalty limits resulting in a total of five graded penalty levels. The two lower limits of 20mg/100ml and 50mg/100ml in blood are related to driver status; that is specified driver or non-specified driver respectively. Specified drivers are defined as learners, newly qualified drivers and professional drivers. This offered challenges in the areas of calibration, quality assurance and measurement of uncertainty for the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (Bureau) which is the national statutory body responsible for chemical testing of intoxicants in driving in Ireland. In preparation for the introduction of the new alcohol limits the Bureau aimed to introduce a method of calibration that would enable accurate analysis and reporting at the lower levels for both evidential breath testing instruments and blood and urine specimens. Calibration and testing schemes including measurement of uncertainty budgets for evidential breath testing, breath screening and alcohol in blood or urine programmes were devised, validated and implemented to ensure accurate analysis and reporting of alcohol in specimens at all levels. Accredited status for the three testing schemes was maintained under the ISO 17025 standard. Before the introduction of the RTA 2010 a percentage deduction had been subtracted from all analytical results prior to issue. Calculated uncertainty budgets demonstrated that this approach was not appropriate for all limits included in the RTA 2010. A percentage deduction remains in place over part of the measurement range while appropriate absolute deductions are made at lower limits.


  • English

Media Info

  • Pagination: 392-7
  • Monograph Title: 20th International Conference on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety Conference Proceedings, 25-28 August 2013, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01495690
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: ARRB
  • Files: ITRD, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 17 2013 10:13AM