Page last updated at 14:26 GMT, Monday, 29 November 2010

Driving under the influence

The UUP's Danny Kinahan told MLAs alcohol and drugs were responsible for over 369 road accidents in 2009/10, on 29 November 2010.

The South Antrim MLA was proposing the motion calling on drivers to have due regard for the law and to drive responsibly.

Several MLAs noted that this was a timely motion coming at the beginning of the festive season when drink driving was a particular problem.

Mr Kinahan also revealed that figures for 2009/10 showed drugs and alcohol were the primary factor in 23 deaths, 120 serious injuries and 439 slight injuries.

Environment committee chairperson Cathal Boylan called for a rural transport strategy combined with random breath tests, and expressed support for free soft drinks for designated drivers.

The SDLP's Pat Ramsey spoke of how he lost his younger brother and sister-in-law in 1995 in an accident caused by a drink driver.

There was also a personal anecdote from the DUP's Jimmy Spratt who recalled witnessing a fatal collision where the driver responsible had been drinking.

Speaking on behalf on the DUP, Lord Morrow said court lists revealed there were currently 42 cases in his own constituency connected to drink and drugs.

Environment Minister Edwin Poots said road safety was his top priority.

The motion was passed unanimously.

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