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Mandatory drug tests after road crashes
Pic: RollingNews.ie

29 May 2024 / legislation Print

Mandatory drug tests after road crashes

A law that will make roadside drug testing mandatory for drivers involved in serious collisions will come into force before the June bank holiday.

The measure is part of the Road Traffic Act 2024, which was signed into law in April, and is being implemented in stages.

Jack Chambers (Minister of State for Transport) has now signed an order commencing part 4 of the act, with the provisions set to come into effect from midnight on 31 May 2024.

‘Drug driving’ on the rise

From then, members of An Garda Síochána will be required to test drivers involved in serious collisions for the presence of drugs in their system. This follows a similar requirement for mandatory alcohol testing in the same circumstances.

In the past, gardaí have had a discretionary power to test for drugs.

The Department of Transport says that research and evidence indicate that ‘drug driving’ is increasing on the roads, and that the change is intended to discourage dangerous driving behaviour.

Waiting period

The order sets a maximum waiting period of 30 minutes for roadside drug testing. The 30-minute period starts after a driver has supplied an oral fluid sample for drug testing.

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

The 2024 act also legislates for safer default speed limits on urban, national secondary, and rural, local roads, as well as introducing other road-safety measures.

Minister Chambers described the signing of the provisions as “an important milestone” in the Government’s response to the trends being witnessed on the roads, adding that driving under the influence was one of the four main causes of road fatalities.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland