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Dangerous behaviour Dramatic increase in drug driving numbers as Gardaí ramp up testing

Garda figures for the first three months of this year (2021) show an 11pc increase in positive tests compared to the same time last year

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Cannabis was the most common drug detected in tests. Stock image

Cannabis was the most common drug detected in tests. Stock image

Cannabis was the most common drug detected in tests. Stock image

Gardaí have urged motorists to heed the dangers of drug driving as positive tests skyrocket in 2021.

New figures reveal a huge increase (37pc) in the numbers of positive tests for at least one drug last year compared to 2019.

Of a total of 4,435 blood and urine samples tested for drugs, almost three-quarters (72pc) tested positive.

There was a total of 3,988 detected incidents of drug driving. Garda figures for the first three months of this year (2021) show an 11pc increase in positive tests compared to the same time last year.

Cannabis was the most common drug detected in tests, with three out of every five tests testing positive. Cocaine use increased, with between 30pc and 40pc of all samples testing positive.

“The significant increase in the number of specimens being analysed by the MBRS certainly reflects the increased levels of detections being made for drug driving by An Garda Síochána,” said Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Transport.

“While this is a worrying trend, I believe it is down to a greater focus by the Gardaí on this type of dangerous behaviour. This greater focus is very welcome. Drivers need to understand that since the introduction of roadside testing for drugs in 2017, the Gardaí have the tools to tackle this problem. There is simply no hiding drug driving anymore.”

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman, Roads Policing and Community Engagement, urged caution as the Easter weekend approaches, saying: “An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to the public to reduce social contacts this Easter weekend to further reduce the current impact of Covid 19 on our society.

“While supporting the response to the Covid pandemic An Garda Síochána remain committed to reducing deaths and serious injury collisions on our roads. If you are driving under the influence of an intoxicant, drugs or alcohol you are more likely to be involved in a collision.”

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