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Tuesday 27 June 2017

Law to allow roadside drug tests a step closer

Legislation that will allow gardaí carry out tests for cannabis, cocaine and heroin have moved a step closer. Stock picture
Legislation that will allow gardaí carry out tests for cannabis, cocaine and heroin have moved a step closer. Stock picture
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Roadside drug tests must become common place because some drivers can't be trusted to take responsibility for their actions, Transport Minister Shane Ross has said.

Legislation that will allow gardaí carry out tests for cannabis, cocaine and heroin have moved a step closer with the new laws being debated in the Dáil last night.

Mr Ross noted that the number of people losing their lives on Irish roads was rising at a "disturbing" level and "no one factor" can be blamed.

The number of deaths for our roads this year is 138, as against 115 on the same day last year.

"Safe driving is also a matter of individual responsibility. Whatever laws we make, whatever work An Garda Síochána do to enforce those laws, however many good people may strive to enhance road safety in so many ways, each driver is responsible for how they drive once they get behind the wheel," Mr Ross said.

He will create an offence of driving or being in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle with the presence in the blood of any of the three drugs.

The Road Traffic Bill 2016 also legislates for 20kmh speed limits in housing estates.

This has been the subject of a campaign by the family of six-year-old Jake Brennan who died after an accident in 2014.

Local authorities will have the option of introducing the limit, but it will not be mandatory as Mr Ross said it would be "difficult to enforce".

Irish Independent

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