Subscriber OnlyPolitics

Drivers involved in serious road crashes to be tested on roadside for drugs from this weekend

Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers due to sign into law aspects of the Road Traffic Act 2024 dealing with the testing on Wednesday

New laws requiring drivers involved in serious road crashes to be tested for drugs on the roadside will be in force for the June bank holiday weekend.

Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers is due to sign into law aspects of the Road Traffic Act 2024 dealing with the testing on Wednesday, coming into effect on May 31st at midnight.

Signed by the President last month, the Act is being viewed by Government as a key part of its response to the rising number of road fatalities in recent years. As of Tuesday morning 79 people have died so far in 2024.

The legislation is being implemented in stages, targeting key areas linked to dangerous driving behaviour.

READ MORE

“The signing of the ‘mandatory drug testing’ provisions into law is an important milestone in our response to the trends we are witnessing on our roads,” Mr Chambers said. Government is committed to doing all it can to reverse the “really alarming trends” seen in recent times, he said, where fatalities have been rising year-on-year.

This aspect of the law will require members of An Garda Síochána to test drivers involved in serious collisions for the presence of drugs, following a similar requirement for mandatory alcohol testing. While this testing has already been carried out in the past, gardaí have had a discretionary power to do so. This will shift that to a legal obligation.

The Department of Transport recently sanctioned the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to purchase an additional 10,000 DrugWipe test kits this year, the equipment used to detect drugs.

The new order also sets a maximum waiting period of 30 minutes for roadside drug testing, beginning once a driver has supplied an oral fluid sample. In some cases this would allow for the results of the test to develop, usually taking about eight minutes, and for an additional test to be conducted if required.

Read More

Recommended