Ireland Gardai have started testing motorists for drug-driving

18:05  16 april  2017
18:05  16 april  2017 Source:   Independent.ie

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One of the key measures in the legislation provides for Preliminary Drug Testing , which will enable Gardaí to test motorists whom they suspect of driving under the influence of drugs at the roadside. The launch of the new measures, in conjunction with An Garda Síochána

Roadside drug testing starting within weeks will check motorists for commonly prescribed medicines including Valium and sleeping tablets, as well as illegal drugs . In the case of these drugs , gardaí will have to prove impairment and that you were unfit to drive .

Gardai have started testing motorists for drug-driving © The Journal Gardai have started testing motorists for drug-driving

The new provisions in The Road Traffic Bill were passed last December and it means Gardai will now have equipment to carry out saliva tests on drivers to check if they've consumed cannabis, cocaine or heroine (benzodiazepines, and opiate).

Anyone who tests positive could find themselves facing a jail sentence.

Gardai shared  a picture on Twitter of Operation Surround underway in Stillorgan, Dublin on Saturday evening.

Before this Gardai couldn't prosecute anyone who they suspected was under the influence of drugs while driving.

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Gardaí already have the authority to test a motorists for drugs , but without trustworthy technology had to rely on roadside impairment tests . If this additional testing confirms the findings of the roadside test then the driver faces up a driving disqualification of one year for their first offence, or of

Crackdown on drug - driving . Drivers are being tested for drugs when breathalysed. In the past, gardai have only tested motorists for drugs if it was thought that a driver 's ability had been impaired. Should be a stiffer penalty if someone tests positive for alcohol and another drug .

Transport Minister Shane Ross welcomed the legislation and said he expects it will save lives.

He said: "It is estimated that drug driving is a factor in approximately one in 10 fatal crashes.

"The introduction of preliminary drug testing now strengthens the ability of gardaí to tackle the problem."

Frances Fitzgerald also explained earlier this year why roadside drug testing would be introduced this weekend.

Speaking in the Dail, she said: "It is intended that the provisions will be commenced at the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

"This will allow time for all stakeholders to prepare for introduction, and will provide a valuable opportunity to highlight the dangers of drug driving over the Bank Holiday weekend."

The Medical Safety Bureau of Road Safety said that the new legislation shouldn't put people off taking their prescribed medicines, so long as it doesn't impair their ability to drive.

Professor Denis Cusack, Director of the MBRS, said: "It is against the law to drive under the influence of drugs, including prescribed drugs, where your driving is impaired to such an extent that you don't have proper control of the vehicle," he said at the launch of the preliminary drug-testing scheme.

"Drivers with medical conditions should continue to take their prescribed medications in accordance with healthcare advice and medical fitness-to-drive guidelines."

'I was humiliated by drug driving arrest because of my medication' - driver hits out at new laws .
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