Drivers on drugs are targeted in new safety adverts
DRIVERS 'spaced out' behind the wheel on drugs are to be targeted in a new campaign.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has commissioned a TV, cinema and internet commercial targeting drugs driving.
It comes amid growing concern over the number of drivers who use cocaine, cannabis and speed -- often on top of alcohol.
The campaign, the first of its kind in Ireland, is one of the objectives in the Government's Road Safety Strategy.
RSA chief executive Noel Brett said yesterday that Ireland had a serious issue in relation to drugs impairment and road use.
"It is important that we educate people about the serious risks they take if they use drugs and alcohol and drive," he said.
The so-called polydrug problem, where drivers consume a mixture of cocaine, cannabis and alcohol, was also alarming.
A recent survey of 1,800 tests carried out on motorists suspected of drug driving found that around three-quarters of them tested positive.
Because of the complexity of drug tests, which check for seven categories of drugs, the Medical Bureau of Road Safety only tests blood and urine samples for drugs when specifically requested by gardai.
This is mainly because many motorists found with drugs in their system are also over the drink-driving limit and both offences come under the same law.
Gardai must first prove that a driver is impaired before he can be arrested and brought to the local garda station for a blood or urine test.