DRUG DRIVING INCIDENTS ON THE INCREASE IN FERMOY
It emerged this week that there has been an increasing incidence of drug driving in the Fermoy district.
Speaking to The Avondhu, James Hallahan, sergeant in charge at Fermoy garda station, commented, “There have been 13 drug driver cases in the Fermoy district from August 10, 2009 to August 10, 2010. It just shows there is an increasing trend with drug driving. It takes careful scrutiny from the guards to be able to spot a potential drug driver.”
“People need to be aware that medication is an intoxicant. It is very important to follow your doctor’s advice. For example, medicine with a high dose of Codeine will affect your ability to drive a car. This could result in your driving being impaired, and you could be prosecuted as a result.”
New research commissioned by the RSA has revealed alarming misconceptions around driving under the influence of drugs, and even more alarming behaviour.
One in five people between the ages of 17 and 34 have been willing passengers in a car driven by someone under the influence of drugs, according to a survey carried out by the RSA. To raise awareness of the serious risks that drug driving poses, on Friday July 30 the RSA launched a new public service anti-drug driving TV and Cinema campaign.
Chief executive Noel Brett says, “Drug drivers typically think that they are more competent drivers while under the influence but survey findings reveal that 50% of these same drivers had already been fined for other traffic offences.”
SEVEN OUT OF TEN
Gardai confirm that out of ten erratic motorists tested seven are under the influence of some kind of drug. In most of these cases no alcohol has been taken but instead they have taken anti-depressants as prescribed by their doctors, or cannabis.
It appears that the majority involved here is young men, of which six out of ten are high on cannabis. And many of the men middle-aged, are driving while on legally prescribed anti-depressants which impair their driving.
The shocking new report by the State’s Medical Bureau of Road Safety lifts the lid on the alarming extent of drug driving in Ireland.
“The results of this study demonstrate that there is a significant driving under the influence of drugs problem in Ireland,” the report concludes.
The Road Safety Authority is drawing up a major new strategy in an attempt to combat the growing drugs driving scourge.
MANY ROAD DEATHS
Drug driving is now being blamed for many road deaths that take place in this country. Some 2,000 blood and urine samples supplied by gardai who stopped erratic drivers were examined by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety at the Dept of Forensic Medicine in UCD. The bureau carries out the drink driving tests for gardai.
A total of 1,000 drivers were above the alcohol limit, and 1,000 below the limit or with zero alcohol. It found that: A third of those driving under the alcohol limit (either no alcohol or under the legal limit) had taken one or more drugs, mainly cannabis.
A total of 331 out of 1,000 drivers under the legal alcohol limit had taken drugs. One in six drivers over the alcohol limit were also on drugs when stopped by gardai, the report shows. In the vast majority of drug drivers, more than 90% were male.
Drug driving was highest in Cork at 30.4% followed by Dublin at 27% for all drivers above and under alcohol limit. Unfortunately a valid, reliable and convenient roadside testing device for drugs has still not been found.
Friday 13th August 10:58am