Drug testing for motorists looks set to be introduced by Christmas.
Under new legislation announced this week in the Road Traffic Bill for 2016 – Gardaí will be able to conduct roadside tests if they suspect that motorists are driving under the influence of drugs.
With the new bill soon to be enacted, drivers who are caught with heroin, cannabis or cocaine above the specified threshold will face a fine of up to € 5,000 or a maximum of six months in prison – or both.
It puts the three drugs on the same basis as the presence of alcohol – for drivers.
Announcing the Bill in the Dáil during the week, Transport Minister Shane Ross said that the technology is now available to enable the Gardaí to test for drugs at the roadside, in the same way in which they already conduct roadside tests for alcohol.
In answer to any complaint that the new offences are excessive, the Minister has firmly stated that they are not, adding that drugs can have a serious impact on the ability to drive. The new provisions are expected to be in force by the end of the year.