Sinn Féin - On Your Side

All drivers involved in accidents should be tested for both alcohol and drugs

16 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has backed a Private Members Motion in the Dáil this evening which demands mandatory alcohol testing for all drivers involved in accidents. Speaking in the Dáil this evening Deputy Ó Snodaigh said all drivers involved in accidents should not only be tested for alcohol but also for drugs.

He said, "Motor vehicles become lethal weapons if operated under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drink driving is the main contributing factor to single vehicle collisions and is a factor in more than one third of all fatal crashes. The incidence of drug driving is also increasing.

"It is regrettable that we are once again discussing the need for the introduction without delay of mandatory alcohol testing for drivers involved in accidents causing injury. This issue could have been resolved with the Road Traffic Bill of last year but was unfortunately omitted for some reason.

"The current scenario allows drivers who have caused serious harm or death on our roads to emerge untested. Gardaí must be given the power to automatically breathalyse a driver who has been involved in an accident without first having to form an opinion that an intoxicant had been consumed. Surely the serious injury or death of a person on our roads should warrant a reason to breathalyse the driver responsible.

"In the 6 Counties and most EU states it is required procedure for police officers to automatically test all drivers involved in crashes. Once again we are seeing an inconsistency between both jurisdictions of this island which is negatively affecting road safety.

"All drivers involved in road traffic collisions should not only be tested for alcohol but also for drugs.

"The fact that most collisions involving serious injury or death occur at weekends, the prime time for drinking and socialising, is no coincidence. One part of the solution is new legislation to ensure that all drivers involved in collisions will have to be tested. This can be another deterrent to the scourge of drink and drug driving." ENDS

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