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Monday 2 October 2023 Dublin: 12°C
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# Drug-Driving
New driving laws will include clampdown on 'drug driving'
Leo Varadkar says the forthcoming Road Traffic Bill will revise earlier laws to introduce ‘impairment testing’ for drivers.

IRISH DRIVERS who are suspected of driving under the influence of drugs will be asked to undergo ‘impairment testing’ by Gardaí to prove their capability to drive, under proposals to be brought to cabinet shortly.

Transport minister Leo Varadkar is preparing a tough crackdown on so-called ‘drug driving’ as part of a revision of Irish driving laws to be published before the end of the year.

The moves follow the publication of a report by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety on roadside drug testing, which was released earlier this week.

The report found that testing of oral fluid was emerging as the most reliable way to run a roadside chemical drug test.

Varadkar will now set up a working group to determine how such technology could be used by Gardaí – but has warned that there are no devices currently on the market which could test for all possible drugs in a driver who has just been pulled over.

Driving under the influence of drugs is already forbidden under the last revision of traffic laws, enacted in 2010, but the appropriate sections of the bill were never ‘commenced’, or activated, because of difficulties in enforcing them.

In response to written Dáil questions from a number of TDs, Varadkar said the forthcoming Road Traffic Bill would contain amendments to this bill to allow for the technological difficulties in enforcing his proposals.

“In advance of any technological measures, I also propose to introduce impairment testing for use by An Garda Síochána in determining whether a driver is incapable, from intoxication, of having proper control of a vehicle,” the minister said.

“This testing will consist of simple, physical, cognitive tests such as walking a straight line, tipping one’s nose or counting while standing on one leg.”

It was revealed last week that the new bill will also contain measures requiring newly-qualified drivers to display ‘N’ plates on their cars, similar to the existing L plates for drivers holding provisional licences.

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