Raising awareness of the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs.
Our new campaign in association with the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) and An Garda Síochána aims to raise awareness of the new drug testing devices that are operational from 1 December 2022 to test for drug driving at the road side.
The new preliminary roadside drug driving testing device, Securetec® Drugwipe 6s, (which looks similar to a COVID-19 test) can test for a greater range of drugs at the roadside. It is more portable, faster at delivering results and can not only test for Cannabis, Cocaine, Benzodiazepines and Opiates, this device can, unlike its predecessor, test for Amphetamine and Methamphetamine.
If your oral fluid tests positive for Cannabis or Cocaine, you will be arrested and brought to the station where a blood specimen will be collected and sent to the MBRS for analysis.
If your oral fluid tests positive for Benzodiazepines, Opiates or Amphetamines/ Methamphetamine and the Garda is of the opinion that you are impaired, you will be arrested and brought to the station where a blood specimen will be collected and sent to the MBRS for analysis.
If your oral fluid tests positive for Benzodiazepines or Opiates or Amphetamines/ Methamphetamine and the Garda is of the opinion that you are not impaired, you are not committing a driving offence and can drive on.
Drug Driving Penalties
All drug driving offences carry a period of disqualification. In terms of disqualification periods, for those convicted of the offence of being above the threshold for Cannabis and Cocaine with no proof of impairment necessary by the Gardaí, the disqualification period is not less than 1 year for the first offence and not less than 2 years for the second or subsequent offence.
For the existing offence of drug driving while impaired, the penalty or disqualification period is a minimum of 4 years for a first offence and 6 years for a second or subsequent offence.
The maximum penalty for all drug driving offences is a €5,000 fine and up to 6 months imprisonment on summary conviction.
Prescription or over-the-counter medicines
If taking prescription medication, drivers need to follow the advice of their prescribing doctor and dispensing pharmacist and must be aware of the level of potential impairment, even temporary, that the medication may cause. This is particularly important if the dosage or brand of that medication is altered.
If drivers are in any doubt or have any concerns, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. You may find our Medicines and Driving leaflet useful.
- Research from 2013-2017 shows that 29% of drivers killed had a positive toxicology for drugs
- Over 2,550 drivers have been arrested to date in 2022 on suspicion of drug driving. That’s an average of around 54 drivers (54.3) arrested each week this year for driving under the influence of drugs.
- In 2021 the Medical Bureau of Road Safety tested 4,321 specimens for drugs and 3,412 (78%) specimens were confirmed to have a drug present. While alcohol still remains the most frequently detected intoxicant in driving in Ireland, cannabis is the secondly most frequently found intoxicant and its detection in drivers is continuing to increase, with cocaine being the third most commonly found intoxicant drug detected
Please see frequently asked questions on preliminary drug testing here
Download and read our Drugs and driving leaflet here
Please also see some additional factsheets from the International Council on Alcohol, Drugs and Traffic Safety - Cannabis and Driving.
CANNABIS & DRIVING
International Council on Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety
2. Recent Experimental Evidence
3. Recent Epidemiological Evidence
4. Cannabis-Impaired Driving Detection & Toxicology
5. Policy & Legislative Issues
6. Medical Cannabis & Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
Previous anti-drug driving campaigns
Our previous anti-drug driving campaign focused on the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs.
The campaign includes short videos which demonstrate how drug testing is carried out at the roadside and the consequences should a driver be caught driving under the influence of drugs.RSA Drug Driving Jumbled