Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 122 - Road traffic offences [52648/12].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 122 - Road traffic offences [52648/12]. (27 Nov 2012)

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122. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his proposals to deal with drug driving; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52648/12] 

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Drug driving is a matter of great concern particularly as evidence suggests a growing prevalence of people driving under the influence of drugs in Ireland. In order to get a better understanding of the problem and the options available to tackle it, I recently asked the Medical Bureau of Road Safety to undertake a study on roadside drug testing and related matters. The Bureau's report, along with its recommendations were published last month.
One of the main objectives of the study was to determine whether any suitable devices, similar to breathalysers, are available to detect and measure levels of drugs. The Bureau has advised that, while research in the area is continuing in many countries, oral fluid is emerging as the specimen of choice for use in roadside chemical drug testing devices. As a result, I have approved the establishment of a Working Group to consider the issues associated with introducing such devices. I am advised that, while there is now the potential for a suitable roadside device to be used for the testing of certain commonly used drugs, there is still no device available for the testing of all drugs. Once such a device becomes available I will move to have it introduced as quickly as possible.
In advance of any technological measures, I propose to introduce legislation to allow for the introduction of roadside impairment testing for use by An Garda Síochána. This testing consists of simple, physical, cognitive tests such as walking a straight line, tipping one’s nose or counting while standing on one leg and will assist the gardaí in determining whether a driver is incapable of having proper control of a vehicle.
Written answers - Road traffic offences
Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 784 No. 2

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