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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 1386 - Road traffic offences [20643/17].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 1386 - Road traffic offences [20643/17]. (02 May 2017)


1386. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the protection which exists under the Road Traffic Acts 1961 to 2016 to protect persons that are on prescribed medication that contain opiates (details supplied) from the operation of the recently introduced drug driving legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20643/17]

 

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Deputy Shane Ross) ​The new legislation on drug driving has no implications for people who have been prescribed opiates where their driving is not impaired. The drug driving provisions of the Road Traffic Act 2016, which I commenced from 13 April last, create new offences of driving while over a specified limit of three drugs, cannabis, cocaine, and heroin.  None of these drugs is a prescribed opiate. It is already an offence under the Road Traffic Act 2010 to drive or be in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicant to such an extent as to be incapable of controlling the vehicle.  An intoxicant in this sense means any intoxicant, whether alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal, prescribed or not. There has been no change to the legislation in this regard.

 

 The new roadside preliminary drug tests, introduced in April, can detect opiates, among other classes of drug.  A person on prescribed opiates who tests positive for this drug at the roadside is not committing an offence, unless they are actually under the influence of their medication to such an extent as to be incapable of controlling the vehicle.  This offence, as I say, is not new.

 

 A person who has been prescribed an opiate, or any other medication, should always take their medication as prescribed.  If they suffer from effects which would impair their driving they should not drive until those effects pass.  If in doubt, they should consult their doctor or pharmacist.

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