We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

File image of the 'Drugwipe' test kit used to carry outside road-side drug tests Garda Press Office
Road Traffic Act

Mandatory drug testing of drivers involved in serious collisions to come into effect on Friday

An additional 10,000 drug test kits have been purchased ahead of the new law coming into place ahead of the June Bank Holiday weekend.

MANDATORY DRUG TESTING for drivers involved in serious collisions is to come into effect ahead of the upcoming June Bank Holiday weekend.

From midnight on Friday, 31 May, gardaí will be required to test drivers involved in serious road traffic collisions for the presence of drugs in their system.

It is already the case that gardaí have to carry out mandatory alcohol testing for motorists involved in similar collisions.

Currently, gardaí have a discretionary power to test for drugs, but drug testing will now be mandatory in an effort to address fatalities on Irish roads.

A spokesperson from the Department of Transport said research and evidence shows that drug driving incidents are increasing and that the change in law is intended to ensure that all motorists who drive under the influence of drugs and are involved in a collision are detected.

The Department recently purchased an additional 10,000 ‘Drugwipe’ test kits to ensure gardaí are equipped to carry out increased numbers of roadside drug tests.  

The new law sets out a maximum waiting period of 30 minutes for roadside drug testing, and this 30-minute period starts after a driver has supplied an oral fluid sample for drug testing.

A Department spokesperson explained that while it is not often that drivers will be required to wait the full 30 minutes, some “unfortunate or unpredictable events can occur at the roadside, such as a faulty test, or another motorist in need of urgent assistance”.

The 30-minute period allows for the results of the drug test to develop, which usually takes around eight minutes, and for an additional test to be conducted if required.

Minister of State for Transport Jack Chambers today signed the Road Traffic Act 2024 Order into law.

Alongside the provision for mandatory drug testing for those involved in serious collisions, the Order also legislates for new default speed limits on urban, national secondary and rural, local roads.

Default speed limits on national secondary roads will be cut from 100km/h to 80km/h, from 80km/h to 60km/h on rural or local roads, and from 50km/h to 30km/h on roads within towns, cities, and built-up areas.

A Department spokesperson said the new speed limits will be “implemented in stages” and it is understood that the changes will be enforced in the second half of this year at the earliest.

Minister Chambers today described the signing of the mandatory drug testing provisions into law as an “important milestone in our response to the trends we are witnessing on our roads”.

He noted that driving under the influence is one of the four main causes of road fatalities.

Chambers added that he is “committed to commencing the remaining provisions of the Act in the coming period”.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel