Drunk driving solicitor


Roadside testing for drugs - are motorists being tested?

Roadside testing for drugs - are motorists being tested?

<p>The drug driving provisions in the Road Traffic Act 2016 commenced in April 2017. Between April and December 2017, Gardaí tested 612 motorists at the roadside for this offence. 90 motorists tested positive for drugs following saliva tests at the roadside checkpoints during this period. It is against the law to drive under the influence of certain drugs regardless of driving performance, above specified levels. These drugs include cannabis, cocaine and heroin. The Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) has stated that gardaí had been supplied with 19,000 drug-driving mouthpiece testing sticks last year.</p> <p> </p> <p>It is clear therefore that fewer tests than expected have been undertaken by the Gardaí. This can partly be attributable to issues with the devices themselves for example substances such as nicotene, ibuprofen and caffeine can interfere with the results of the test. Further issues include there being waiting times of ten to 15 minutes for test results and some motorists struggling to provide a sample if their mouth is dry. The legislation states that if a motorist tests positive gardaí must also perform an impairment test. This test includes co-ordination tasks and can last a further ten minutes. The requirement under the legislation to conduct the impairment test is said to be causing some confusion about what is required in order to proceed with a prosecution.</p> <p> </p> <p>Latest figures from the gardaí indicate 2,501 officers have been trained to conduct the roadside tests, out of 13,551 members of the force. As this figure continues to rise and Gardaí get to grips with using the devices it is expected that the number of tests undertaken by the Gardaí will greatly increase in 2018.</p> <p> </p> <p>Penalties upon conviction for drug driving include:</p> <p> </p> <p>·       a minimum 1-year driving disqualification if you are found to be above the legal threshold for cocaine, cannabis or heroin (since April 2017); </p> <p>·       a minimum of 4 years driving disqualification if you are found to have drugs in your body and are impaired to such an extent that you do not have proper control of a vehicle;</p> <p>·       up to €5,000 fine;</p> <p>·       up to 6 months in prison;</p> <p> </p> <p>It is imperative therefore that if charged with this offence you contact one of our expert drug driving solicitors immediately.</p> <p style="text-align: right;"><strong>Luke Staines, S</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p> </p>