Irish News

Friday 25 July 2014

Drivers face roadside drug tests this summer

Paul Melia

Published 12/12/2012|05:00

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GARDAI will begin carrying out roadside drug testing from next summer as part of a major crackdown on dangerous driving.

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The Government has approved new rules, which will also target drivers who use their mobile phones or fail to wear a seatbelt.

Learner drivers also come under scrutiny in the Road Traffic Bill. They will be put off the road if they amass six penalty points – half the limit for more experienced drivers.

Major changes to the penalty points system, revealed by the Irish Independent last October and approved by Cabinet yesterday, include:

• Learner drivers who are driving without a qualified driver will be hit with penalty points for the first time.

• Penalty points for mobile phone use, including texting, will rise from two to three.

• Points for speeding and not wearing a seatbelt will also rise from two to three.

The new bill also includes provision for drug-driving testing. This would involve motorists being tested through a series of impairment tests – such as walking in a straight line – and failure to pass can be used as evidence in court.

Gardai will also be allowed ask doctors to take a blood sample from an unconscious driver following a serious road traffic accident, which will be tested for alcohol or drugs when they give their consent. Failure to give consent will be an offence.

Irish Independent

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