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Drug testing of motorists to be introduced in new year

Drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs will have to perform co-ordination tests – such as walking in a straight line or balancing on one leg – under plans announced by Minister Leo Varadkar.

Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Drug testing of motorists is due to be introduced early next year, the Minister for Transport has announced.

Drivers suspected of being under the influence of drugs will be asked to perform a series of tests at the roadside, according to the plans announced by Leo Varadkar today.

The tests will measure motorists’ co-ordination abilities by asking them to perform a series of physical exercises or gestures – such as walking in a straight line or balancing on one leg.

“These new laws will allow us to fast-track measures against drug driving. It’s already against the law to drive under the influence of drugs, but gardaí will soon be able to conduct roadside drug tests,” said Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

“This will make it easier to detect and prosecute drug driving”.

Any driver who fails the roadside impairment test, or who appears to be under the influence of drugs according to the garda at the scene, will be arrested and brought to a Garda station.

New legislation is currently being drafted to allow for the introduction of the measure, which will be part of the Road Traffic No. 3 Bill.

Gardaí are already being trained in the new procedures by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) and UCD in preparation for the introduction.

The introduction of drug tests for motorists has been mooted for several years but was delayed by legal difficulties.

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