- In some respects the law is not new as it has long been an offence to drive under the influence of an intoxicant i.e. Alcohol, Drugs or a combination of both.
- Since November 2014 Gardai have been conducting “Roadside Impairment Tests” to determine if someone is under the influence of drugs.
- The Roadside Impairment Tests consists of testing for pupil dilation, asking motorists to touch their nose with their finger, assessing balance, a walking test, and standing on one foot for a count of eight
- The new law extends the powers of the Gardai and gives them a new means to determine whether a motorist has taken drugs by using a device known as the Drager DrugTest 5000 at the side of the road.
- It works by analysing a saliva sample.
- The new device specifically checks for 4 types of drugs, cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines (Valium-like drugs) and Opiates.
- Essentially these fall into two broad categories of drugs; those that slow you down and those that speed you up – but they all potentially can influence your driving by altering your reaction times and judgement.
- If you are found to be taking cannabis, cocaine and heroin above the specified limits, you can be prosecuted for drug driving even if your driving is not impaired.
- If you test positive for benzodiazepines or opiates and the Garda will decide by speaking to you and if necessary by conducting a Roadside Impairment Test as to whether in his/her opinion your driving is impaired.
- The Road test is NOT evidence, it is only a preliminary test so a further specimen of blood or urine will be required and will be taken in the Garda station.
For more information watch a discussion on the Claire Byrne Live programme on RTE about the subject
For more information check out the RSA site
25th April, 2015