Drug-driving a major issue in Dublin

Dublin faces a major problem of people driving under the influence of drugs, according to statistics released by the Garda.

In just a few weeks in late December and early January, up to 200 people were reported to have been arrested for driving under the influence.


Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West was named as the region with the highest rates of offending, with 54 people being arrested during this time, with 38 of those being arrested driving under the influence, and 16 being arrested for drug driving.  

Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs can put both yourself and others in danger, as you can easily lose control of the vehicle due to not being in the proper state of mind for decision making.

A member of An Garda Síochána spoke to The Liberty about the issue of drugs becoming a social norm: “It can all be linked back to the cost of living of crisis, it seems like easy money until things get complicated,” they said. “It can give a high for someone when everything else in their life is going wrong.”

Under the Road Traffic Act 1961, it is a statutory offence to be driving under the influence in Ireland.

As the introduction for Garda roadside drug side testing began in April of 2017, Garda now have a “new power” in terms of stopping someone when they under the influence.  

The introduction of Garda roadside drug testing in April 2017 gave gardaí a ‘new power’ when it came to testing for drugs, and the previous requirement to prove impairment or incapacitation no longer applied to canabis and cocaine use.

Prior to this, gardaí were required to have specific reasoning in order to stop someone they believed to have been under the influence.

If you are convicted for drug driving, the penalty is similar to drink driving – a maximum of a €5,000 fine, and up to six months imprisionment. You will also be disqualified for driving for a minimum of one year, with the period, and fine, growing following any subsequent offences.

“A lot of the time, judges aren’t giving the proper sentences for these offences, or sources for rehabiliation,” a member of An Garda Síochána said, explaining the introduction of additional penalties. “It’s causing people to have second offences.”

With the RSA reporting a 13% increase in road deaths last year, the authorities are willing to try anything to combat these preventable deaths.

For drug and alcohol information and support click here.

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