Govt approves General Scheme of Road Traffic Bill 2015 to deal with driving under the influence of drugs – Donohoe  

10th February, 2015

69% of specimens analysed by MBRS between 2007-2013 certified positive for drugs demonstrating need to address the issue


The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD, has welcomed the Government decision today (Tuesday) to approve the General Scheme of a Road Traffic Bill 2015.  The General Scheme will now be submitted to the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for formal drafting, with a view to publication in the summer.  In line with Government policy, Minister Donohoe will immediately refer the General Scheme to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications for consideration.


Following Cabinet this afternoon, Minister Donohoe said: ‘This Bill is a necessary component in the ongoing effort to improve safety on Ireland’s roads.  After many years of reductions, deaths on our roads increased in 2013, with a further increase again in 2014.  This is a worrying development and underlines the need to keep up pressure on a wide variety of fronts to reduce these unnecessary tragedies on our roads’.
“The Bill will focus on addressing the problem of driving while under the influence of drugs, which evidence indicates is a serious issue.  Of specimens analysed for the confirmed presence of drugs by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) between 2007 and 2013, 69% were certified as positive.  New measures will provide for testing for drugs at the roadside, paralleling existing measures for testing for alcohol.  In future, Gardaí at roadside checkpoints will be able to conduct tests for alcohol and/or drugs, rather than alcohol only.  A new device for testing for the presence of drugs in drivers at the roadside will be procured and tested by the MBRS in the coming months.


“The Bill will also address a number of other important issues.  These include the creation, for the first time, of a register of written-off vehicles, a number of adjustments to the penalty point system, and legislative underpinning for new arrangements with the UK on mutual recognition of driving disqualifications.


“I am very pleased at this important step on the road to enacting what will be a very valuable piece of legislation.  We have made great strides in recent years in improving the law on driving under the influence of alcohol, and it is time to bring the law on drug driving into line with this.  The measures against drug driving, and the other measures proposed in this Bill, offer concrete advances which will contribute towards the overall goal of making our roads safer for all road-users.”