Thursday, December 15, 2011

Introduction of roadside drug testing will save lives – Doherty

Fine Gael Meath East TD, Regina Doherty, has said that the introduction of roadside drug testing will help to save lives. Deputy Doherty made her comments today (Monday) following confirmation of the move from the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar.

“We have come a long way in recent years in improving safety on our roads. This latest measure, as announced by Minister Varadkar, will strengthen the power of Gardai to assess drivers and determine whether they are under the influence of any drugs that would impair their driving ability.

“Driving is a complicated task at the best of times. It’s essential that there is a general understanding amongst the public that certain drugs affect your concentration and inhibit your capability behind the wheel.

“It’s already an offence to drive under the influence of drugs, but these new laws will allow Gardaí to conduct roadside tests, making it easier to detect drug driving. Members of the Gardaí have been trained in the new procedures by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety. New legislation is being drafted and Minister Varadkar hopes to introduce the measure in the New Year.

“While a range of illegal drugs such as cannabis and cocaine have a significant impairing effect on driving, some prescription drugs can also affect one’s ability. There’s an onus on GPs to ensure their patients fully understand the effects of certain medication. I would encourage anyone in any doubt about the side effects of medication they may be taking to contact their local doctor or pharmacist.

“The objective of this new measure is clear; to save lives. Any driver who fails the roadside impairment test, or who appears to be under the influence of drugs, will be arrested and brought to a Garda Station. This sends out a strong message that being under the influence of any intoxicant behind the wheel will not be tolerated.”

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