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The new roadside drug testing device that has been launched today. RSA
road safety appeal

New roadside drug testing system launched as part of Christmas and New Year road safety appeal

It works like an antigen test and delivers results in 2-8 minutes.

A NEW ROADSIDE drug testing system has been launched as part of this year’s Christmas and New Year road safety appeal.

The new drug driving testing system, the Securetec Drugwipe 6s, will be operational from today.

It’s been introduced by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) and is said to work in a similar way to an antigen test.

The new system is described as being more portable, faster at delivering results, and can test for a greater range of drugs, including Amphetamine and Methamphetamine.

It comes as gardaí announce an “intensive six-week road safety enforcement campaign across the country to Christmas and New Year”.

A statement from An Garda Síochána said it’s “one primary goal will be to reduce the number of people driving while under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs”.

However, gardaí added that they will “also target other road traffic offences such as mobile phone use, speeding and non-wearing of seatbelts”.

Research by the RSA and An Garda Síochána revealed that over the last five years there were 86 fatalities and 765 serious injuries over the Christmas and New Year period.

Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton, welcomes the introduction of the new drug testing device.

While she said the majority of motorists don’t drive under the influence, she warned that “there are still some who persist in this dangerous behaviour”.

Meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said this year’s road safety campaign will “focus on locations and times where fatal and serious injury collisions have occurred over the last 12 years”.

She added that the DrugWipe 6S will assist gardaí in its goal of “bringing offenders before the courts and making our roads a safer place”.

Elsewhere, Professor Denis Cusack, Director of the MBRS, said the rollout of the new roadside drug testing system is “extremely timely”.

“This enhanced roadside drug testing system is extremely timely as we see a continued increase in drug detection in drivers. In 2016, the MBRS tested 1,113 samples for drugs other than alcohol.

“By 2021, that figure has increased to 4,321 – a near four-fold increase. While alcohol still remains the most frequently detected intoxicant in driving in Ireland, cannabis is the second most frequently found intoxicant and its detection in drivers is continuing to increase, with cocaine being the third most commonly found intoxicant drug detected.”

Professor Cusack added: “The advantages of the new system are that oral fluid collection is very rapid, the test time is reduced to 2-8 minutes, and the device is easily transported with no other device being required to read the drug results.”

Meanwhile, the CEO of the Road Safety Authority Sam Waide  has urged all road users to “act responsibly and to not drink or drug drive when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period”.

He added: “If you are planning to head out socialising, remember to plan how you are going to get home in advance. Designate a driver or organise a taxi, hackney, minibus, or public transport. Be aware too of the danger of drink driving the morning after.”

RSA figures show that 146 people have died on the roads to date in 2022, an increase of 27 on the same day last year.

Separately, 1,174 people were seriously injured on Irish roads this year up to 27 November.

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