Justice minister Helen McEntee has told the Dáil that 1,216 drug driving arrests were made in the first six months this year, compared to 591 in the first half of 2018.
This represents a 106% increase in drug driving arrests, despite a 70% reduction in traffic during the lockdown period.
Drug driving provisions in the Road Traffic Act 2016 were commenced by the Minister of Transport on 12 April 2017.
That legislation provides for preliminary drug testing at roadside checkpoints, known as Mandatory Intoxicant Checkpoints, where drivers can be tested for both alcohol and drugs.
Responding to a question from Kieran O’Donnell TD about extra resources for drug driving tests, the minister said this is an operational matter for garda management.
The policing budget now stands at an unprecedented €1.952 billion for 2021, the minister said, with a current force strength of 14,600 and 3,000 civilian staff nationwide.
“Drug driving not only puts the driver at risk but also passengers and other road users. Preliminary drug testing strengthens the ability of Gardaí to tackle drug driving and I am committed to supporting this important statutory enforcement provision,” the Minister for Justice said.