Drivers involved in serious collisions will face mandatory drugs tests

Drivers involved in serious collisions will face mandatory drugs tests

A NEW law comes into effect this weekend which requires all drivers who have been involved in serious crashes on Irish roads to be drugs tested.

Jack Chambers, Ireland’s Minister of State for Transport, signed the amendment to the Road Traffic Act 2024 into law today and it will become effective from midnight on May 31, 2024.

“The signing of the ‘mandatory drug testing’ provisions into law is an important milestone in our response to the trends we are witnessing on our roads,” Minister Chambers said.

“Driving under the influence is one of the four main causes of road fatalities and it is simply unacceptable,” he added.

“Government is committed to doing all it can to reverse the really alarming trends we have seen in recent times, where fatalities have been rising year-on-year.

"One life lost is one too many on our roads," he explained, adding: "I am committed to commencing the remaining provisions of the Act in the coming period, which will further enhance our response to the trend.”

The Road Traffic Act 2024 was signed into law in Ireland by President Higgins on April 17 of this year.

It is part of the government's response to the rising numbers of road fatalities in Ireland in recent years.

There have been 79 deaths on Irish roads so far this year, compared to 71 deaths at the same point in 2023.

Of the 2024 deaths, 30 have been drivers, 14 have been pedestrians, 20 have been passengers, 10 have been motorcyclists and there were five cyclists killed.

Ireland's new Road Traffic Act is being implemented in stages and seeks to bring about targeted and systemic change in key areas linked to dangerous driving behaviours.

Mandatory drugs testing follows a similar requirement for mandatory alcohol testing which also exists in the same circumstances.

In the past, Gardaí have had a discretionary power to test for drugs.

"With research and evidence indicating that drug driving is increasing on our roads, this change is intended to discourage dangerous driving behaviour and ensure that all those who drive under the influence and are involved in a serious collision are detected," Minister Chambers department explained.