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Dublin: 15°C Monday 18 October 2021

How ready are you for the new Garda roadside tests?

Take our quiz before you get behind the wheel.

Image: Unsplash

MOST OF US wouldn’t dare get into the driving seat after a couple of drinks, but some drivers feel differently when it comes to drugs.

It’s estimated that drug driving is responsible for one in ten fatal crashes in this country, a figure which Gardaí are hoping to reduce thanks to a preliminary roadside drug testing system launched last week. Under the new system, Gardaí will be able to test for cocaine, cannabis, opiates and benzodiazepines at the roadside, and tell within minutes if a driver has the drugs in their system.

Source: Shutterstock/Alexander Khoruzhenko

“Our own research shows that many drug drivers incorrectly believe that certain drugs make them better drivers and imagine themselves at low risk of collision,” CEO of the Road Safety Authority, Moyagh Murdoch, said of the decision to roll out the roadside tests.

“They also tend to overestimate their driving ability and show little understanding of how drugs affect their driving.”

Reckon you’re prepared for the new tests? There’s more to them than you might think. Take our quiz to see how much you know… before you get behind the wheel.

1. I thought drug driving had been illegal for years?
Yes, it has been illegal since the 1960s.
No, that's DRINK driving, silly.
2. Is this the first time Gardaí have ever tested drivers for drugs?
No. They've been doing roadside drug tests outside festivals and concerts for years.
Yes. They've never had the technology for drug-testing before.

No. They've been testing drivers for drugs since 1999, but never at the roadside, until now.
3. If I'm stopped, how do I provide a sample for testing?
...into a tube, the same as a breathalyser test for alcohol.
...your mouth with a sample collector.

...at a screen which measures your eye movements.
...a list of questions, so the Garda can figure out if you're impaired by drugs or not.
4. What happens if I refuse to take part in the preliminary roadside drug test?
Prison or a fine, potentially. Refusing is an offence.
Nothing. It's voluntary, so you don't have to take part.
5. What's one drug the Gardaí WON'T be testing for?
6. I've just landed from a weekend in Amsterdam where I smoked some cannabis. My last joint was yesterday at 9pm. It's 24 hours later and I've just been flagged down at a Garda roadside checkpoint. Should I be worried?
Cannabis can stay in your system for a few days after you smoke it.
Smoking cannabis is not a criminal offence in Amsterdam. You stopped smoking 24 hours ago so your system should be free of the active ingredient in cannabis. You're acting within the law.
7. I smoked a few joints last night and stopped at 3am. Now it's 8am and I'm carefully driving home. I get stopped at a roadside drug checkpoint. Should I be worried?
Yes. If you get a positive result for cannabis, you'll be arrested.
Probably not. The positive test result only counts if you're driving erratically.

No. Just refuse to give a sample. You're under no obligation.
8. I've just been stopped at a roadside drug test. The results came back negative, but I'm still being arrested. Is that legal?
If the Garda thinks you are impaired due to a drug the test doesn't pick up, you will still be arrested.
Once the test is negative, you should be free to go.
Answer all the questions to see your result!
You scored out of !
You're not prepared.
Gardaí have already started preliminary roadside drug testing on Irish roads. There's no hiding drug driving. For more info on what Gardaí are testing for, read on below.
Share your result:
You scored out of !
You're getting there.
You know the basics, but not everything. Gardaí have already started preliminary roadside drug testing on Irish roads, and there's no hiding drug driving, so don't put yourself at risk of getting caught out. For more info on what Gardaí are testing for, read on below.
Share your result:
You scored out of !
You're pretty well-prepared!
Gardaí have already started preliminary roadside drug testing on Irish roads, so it's important to know the facts before you get behind the wheel. For more info on what Gardaí are testing for, read on below.
Share your result:

Penalties upon conviction for drug driving include driving disqualification for a minimum of one year, a fine of up to €5,000, and up to six months in prison. 

As of the 13th April 2017, the Gardaí are able to test drivers for drugs at the roadside using the Drager Drug Test 5000. Stay safe, or face the consequences. For more information, check out the RSA’s video below:

Source: RSA Ireland/YouTube

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