Cabinet passes new drug-driving bill

Those in breach of the new laws could face a fine of up to €5,000 or six months in prison

Drug driving, new bill, Paschal Donohoe, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, fines

Garda David Maguire and posed model Mark Adams being tested for drink driving | Image: RollingNews.ie

The Cabinet has approved new legislation that bill will make it an offence to drive with the presence of cannabis, heroin or cocaine in the blood.

It was one of dozens of items being discussed by Cabinet ministers today.

At the moment, motorists who use drugs can be prosecuted only if their driving is impaired.

But this legislation allows gardaí to test driver's saliva on the side of the road, followed by a blood test.

An impairment test will be used if somebody is thought to be driving under the influence of codeine.

The new offence would carry a €5,000 fine or six months in prison.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe says studies show drug driving is a road safety issue here.

"What has convinced me of the need to do this is a study that was shared with me that tested for the presence of drugs in Co Kildare over a ten year period" he told Newstalk Breakfast earlier.

"And what that study indicated is that for just under 10% - for 9.7% - of individuals who tragically lost their lives on the road, they tested positive for the presence of drugs within their system" he added.

However the bill will not be in place until summer next year.