News | 7 months ago

Brought to you by the Road Safety Authority. 

Three separate arrests after failed roadside drug tests.

Motorists have been reminded to avoid driving under the influence following 185 arrests over the bank holiday weekend, three of which were for drug driving.

It follows the introduction of preliminary roadside drug testing as of last week, which allow Gardaí to take oral fluid (saliva) samples to test for the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines at the roadside.

The Road Safety Authority has reiterated that driving is a complex task and that taking drugs can impair how we function. Taking drugs before driving any kind of vehicle can obviously affect your ability to control it, making you a danger to both yourself and others.

Nationwide checkpoints were set up throughout the Easter bank holiday weekend to test motorists for drink and drugs.

One man was arrested on the N4 near Liffey Valley on Sunday after he failed a roadside drug test, testing positive for cocaine. It emerged that the driver was already disqualified for 10 years.

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Another man was arrested at a checkpoint in Templeogue after testing positive for cannabis.  A third man was arrested after testing positive for cannabis at a separate checkpoint in Chapelizod.

There were 185 arrests over the bank holiday weekend for drink and drug driving offences. Gardaí revealed that there had been a 48% increase in the number of people arrested for driving under the influence over the bank holiday compared to the same period last year.

The new regulations represent a major step forward for road safety as drivers under the influence of drugs can now be detected using a simple roadside saliva test. Penalties for drug driving offences include disqualification from driving for a year (or two years if it is their second offence), a fine of up to €5,000 and up to six months in prison.

The new laws are not designed to punish anyone who is taking legal medication. So drivers taking prescription drugs or over the counter products should continue to do so on medical advice.

However, they can be prosecuted if this medication impairs their driving. Anyone who is unsure of whether to drive after taking prescription medicine is advised to ask their doctor or pharmacists if it's safe to do so.

See more information on this campaign here. You can also check out our full breakdown of the new roadside drug testing laws.

As of 12 April, An Garda Siochana can now test for drugs at the roadside via a drug detection tool called the Drager 5000. This device will be used detect Cocaine, Opiates (like morphine and heroin), benzodiazepines (Valium-like drugs) and Cannabis in drivers.

This builds upon previous efforts to tackle drug driving such as roadside impairment testing in 2014. The Road Safety Authority will front a nationwide educational campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of drug driving.

Brought to you by the Road Safety Authority. 

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