Written answers

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Department of Transport

Road Traffic Offences

10:00 pm

Photo of Margaret ConlonMargaret Conlon (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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Question 294: To ask the Minister for Transport if, as part of his new proposed legislation for mandatory alcohol levels testing at the scene of road traffic accidents, he will introduce mandatory drug testing at the scene of road traffic accidents. [25171/07]

Photo of Noel DempseyNoel Dempsey (Minister, Department of Transport; Meath West, Fianna Fail)
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My Department proposes to engage with the Office of the Attorney General to establish how the current legislation can be amended to achieve roadside testing of drivers involved in serious accidents subject to overriding medical circumstances.

With regard to the introduction of a comprehensive drug roadside testing programme for drivers, the Road Traffic Acts already provide that a member of the Garda Síochána may, where he or she is of the opinion that a person in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle in a public place is under the influence of a drug or drugs to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of that vehicle, require that person to go to a Garda station and further require that person submit to a blood test or to provide a urine sample.

There is no feasible basis yet in Ireland or in Europe for the introduction of a preliminary roadside test for drugs as testing devices are still in the prototype stages. However, my Department with the Medical Bureau of Road Safety, is keeping abreast of developments in this area. When suitable technology becomes available, measures applied to the roadside testing of drivers for alcohol will be applied in relation to drugs.

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