Roadside Drugs Testing now in Ireland

Motorists in Ireland can now be tested at the roadside for the presence of drugs in their system which would influence their driving, writes Brian Byrne.

Transport minister Shane Ross TD has signed the drug driving provisions of the Road Traffic Act 2016.

New testing devices on the roadside and in Garda stations can check for the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates such as heroin and morphine, and benzodiazepines like valium.

Of 3,020 specimens of blood and urine that were received in 2016 by the Medical Bureau for Road Safety, 24pc confirmed positive for drugs other than alcohol. Of these, 91pc were specimens from male drivers, most of whom were in the 17-44 year age range.

Cannabis was the most prevalent drug detected, followed by benzodiazepines.

Preliminary Drug Testing will be carried out by An Garda Síochána using the Dräger DrugTest® 5000, an easy to use mobile drug screening system that uses oral fluid to test for some of the most commonly abused drugs.

A media campaign will include videos which demonstrate how the drug tests will be administered on the road side and the consequences should a driver be detected driving under the influence of drugs. The awareness campaign will run on social media, radio and digital platforms.

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