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Wednesday, 27th March 2024

Louth road users warned of the consequences of drug driving

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Louth County Council has joined forces with An Garda Síochána to highlight the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs, ahead of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. 

It is estimated that drug driving is a factor in approximately ten per cent of fatal crashes. Drug driving not only puts the driver at risk but also passengers and other road users.  

The age profile of drivers providing blood and urine specimens nationally in the 25 to 44 year-old bracket continues to contribute to the greatest percentage of arrested drivers.  The number of male drivers (85%) required to provide a breath specimen exceeds the number of female drivers (15%) by a ratio of nearly 6:1.

Sergeant Declan Higgins from the Louth Roads Policing Unit spoke of the importance of roadside drug testing by Gardaí. “The test, which involves a mouth swab, is easy to carry out and within minutes will tell if a driver has drugs in their system” he said.

“This screening device is an important tool in the identification of drug drivers, ensuring our roads are safer for everyone to use. A small quantity of drugs can seriously affect a driver’s motor skills, balance and co-ordination, reaction time, and judgment on the roads, putting not only the driver at risk, but also passengers and other road users in danger”.

Louth County Council Road Safety officer, Adrian O’Sullivan, added “Drivers with medical conditions should continue to take their prescribed medications in accordance with healthcare advice and medical fitness-to-drive guidelines. If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter medicines under the advice of your doctor or pharmacist, providing those medicines don’t impair your driving, you have nothing to be concerned about.

“If you are in any doubt, speak to your doctor or pharmacist.  I would appeal to all road users to take care when using the roads over the Easter break and to never to drive whilst under the influence of any intoxicant”.

Drivers found abusing drugs such as cannabis or cocaine face a minimum disqualification of not less than one year for the first offence and not less than two years for the second or subsequent offences, a fine of up to €5,000 and up to six months in prison. The disqualification rises to a minimum of 4 years for a first offence and 6 years for a second or subsequent offence if a driver is found to have drugs in their body and their driving is impaired.

As of 25th March 2024, a total of 48 people have been killed on the country’s roads, that’s ten more than the same period in 2023. Three of these fatalities have occurred in County Louth: one driver, one passenger and one pedestrian.

 

 

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