FTA Ireland in support of clamp-down on drug drivers

Following Minister Donohoe’s announcement of the new measures to combat drug and drunk driving – the Freight Transport Association Ireland (FTA Ireland) has voiced its support of the safety campaign.

The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD announced the latest measures to deter and detect driving under the influence of drugs when he signed Regulations that give effect to the provisions of the Road Traffic Act 2014 in relation to roadside impairment testing.

“FTA Ireland fully supports the tightening of the rules on testing for driver impairment,” said FTA Ireland General Manager Neil McDonnell, who added:

“Figures show that the road casualty figures across Ireland have worsened and there is demonstrable evidence that impaired driving is a contributory factor. The closing of the loophole whereby injured drivers could avoid providing an evidential samples is most welcome, and we ask all motorists – private and professional – to heed the call for compliance from the Gardai and the RSA.”

The new provisions will now give the Gardai the power to conduct new Intoxication Impairment Tests at the roadside. These tests are non-technological cognitive tests (e.g. touching your nose, walking in a straight line) and international experience has shown that these tests can be sufficiently precise and objective to be used in court.

The new tests are said to be an important added resource to Gardai in identifying and prosecuting intoxicated drivers and are a significant new tool for the Gardai in enforcing the law against drug driving.

In addition, a new procedure has come into effect which will mean that it a specimen of blood from a driver who is incapacitated following a road traffic collision can be taken to test for intoxicants.

On announcing the new measures Minister Donohoe said: “We have, as a country, come a long way in recent years in the struggle to improve road safety, and especially to combat drunk driving. However, figures for road deaths last year went up for the first time since 2005, and, unfortunately, this year to date, we have seen a further increase in collisions and deaths compared to the same period in 2013. We must keep up the pressure on a range of fronts to reduce these numbers.”