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Ireland. Citizens Information. (2021) Drink driving offences. Citizens Information,

External website: https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/travel_and_r...

The main legislation dealing with road safety is the Road Traffic Act 1961. This law has been updated and modernised regularly over the years and following the introduction of the Road Traffic Act 2006 the Gardai have wide powers to reduce and eliminate the offence of drink driving.


The introduction of the 2006 Road Traffic Act gave the Gardai the power to breathalyse any driver stopped at a mandatory alcohol checkpoint without the need to form any opinion in relation to the driver of the vehicle. The ability to breathalyse any driver is commonly known as random breath testing.

  • Under the Road Traffic Act 2011, Gardaí must conduct a preliminary breath test where they believe a driver has consumed alcohol or at the scene of a crash where someone has been injured and requires medical attention.
  • Under the Road Traffic Act 2014, it is possible to take a specimen of blood from a driver who is incapacitated following a serious road traffic collision and to test that specimen for intoxicants.The driver is asked, on regaining capacity, whether they consent to the issuing of a certificate of the test result based on the specimen. Refusal is an offence.
  • Under the Road Traffic Act 2016, Gardaí can conduct preliminary drug tests at the roadside or in Garda stations.
  • Since 26 October 2018, under the Road Traffic (Amendment) Act 2018, drivers who previously got 3 penalty points for certain drink driving offences will now be disqualified from driving for 3 months instead. 

Article includes:

  • What is mandatory alcohol testing and how does it work?
  • Can a Garda stop me randomly while in traffic and breathalyse me?
  • Can the Gardaí set up a mandatory alcohol testing checkpoint anywhere?
  • What proof is needed in drink driving cases?
  • Offences under Section 4(2), 4(3) and 4(4)
  • What is the procedure if I am arrested for drink driving?
  • Penalties for drink driving offences
  • Drug driving
  • Removal of a disqualification
  • Rates

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