Test-ive Season | 

Gardaí launch new drug driving test system for Christmas to catch meth users

A new preliminary drug testing device is operational from today, Thursday 1 December.

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Gardaí have launched a new roadside drug testing system for the Christmas period.

A new preliminary drug testing device is operational from today, Thursday 1 December, which can test for a greater range of drugs on the roads than before.

The new Securetec Drugwipe 6s roadside drug testing device has been introduced by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety (MBRS) and rolled out to gardaí across the country ahead of its launch this morning.

It is more portable and faster at delivering results than its predecessor and can test for cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines, and opiates.

The Securetec Drugwipe 6s can also test for two new drugs: amphetamine and methamphetamine.

The new device comes as Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána today announced an intensive six-week road safety appeal for the festive period across the country.

The campaign will run until January 3, 2023, with the aim of reducing road deaths over the Christmas and New Year period.

Research by the RSA and An Garda Síochána revealed that over the last five years there were 86 deaths and 765 serious injuries in this time.

For gardaí, the aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of people driving while under the influence of alcohol and illegal drugs, focusing on locations and times where fatal and serious injury collisions have occurred over the last 12 years.

They will be also targeting other road traffic offences such as mobile phone use, speeding, and non-wearing of seatbelts.

Assistant Commissioner Paula Hilman said: “This year has seen 146 fatalities on our roads, which is 146 empty seats at the table on Christmas Day. We all agree that number is far too high and we must work together to keep each other safe.”

Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the gardaí’s new drug testing device as she reminded drivers not to get behind the wheel while under the influence.

“We know that the majority of drivers don’t drive under the influence of drugs but there are still some who persist in this dangerous behaviour,” she said.

“As we come into the festive season, remember that drugs and alcohol and driving do not mix under any circumstance. I’d like to remind drivers that all drink or drug driving penalties carry a disqualification period.”

Sam Waide, CEO of the Road Safety Authority added: “I am urging all road users to act responsibly and to not drink or drug drive when using the roads throughout the Christmas and New Year period.

“Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs doesn’t happen by accident, it happens by choice - those choices could have catastrophic consequences.

“I would appeal to all road users not to take risks on the road and to make safer choices however you use the road.

“If you are planning to head out socialising, remember to plan how you are going to get home in advance. Designate a driver or organise a taxi, hackney, minibus, or public transport.

“Be aware too of the danger of drink driving the morning after.”

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