Drug driving now nearly as common as drink driving in Ireland

  • January 2, 2020

The Irish Road Safety Authority (RSA) says new figures show that drug driving is a major problem on Ireland’s roads. Cannabis is now not far behind alcohol in blood and urine samples examined by the Irish Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS), according to the RSA.

According to the new data, 68% of drivers with a positive roadside drug test, between April 2017 and July 2019, had a positive test for cannabis. Cocaine follows closely behind as the main illicit drug detected after cannabis, with 37% of samples tested being positive for cocaine.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr. Shane Ross said: “Driving under the influence of drugs has been a statutory offence since 1961 but it wasn’t until 2017, with the introduction of Preliminary Drug Testing, that we had a drug testing device capable of testing for the presence of drugs in drivers at the roadside and in the Garda station. It’s clear that its introduction has resulted in an increase in drug driving detections, but the results…show that a continued enforcement and education effort is required to tackle this killer behaviour.”

Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive of the RSA said: “Drug driving is a major problem on our roads. We will continue to educate drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and work closely with the Gardai to support their enforcement activity. But we will do more to examine the factors around drug driving and examine international best practice to find interventions that can be applied here to tackle drug driving.”