ALMOST a tenth of prosecutions for intoxicated driving this year in Cork were for drug driving.
According to figures from gardaí, 17 drivers in Cork City have been prosecuted so far this year for driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs.
Some 174 other drivers have been prosecuted for drink driving. Chief superintendent Barry McPolin is urging people not to put lives at risk by opting to drive while intoxicated. “If you are going to socialise, plan your journey there and plan your journey home. Have a designated driver,” he said.
Since 2017, gardaí have been able to conduct roadside testing for drink driving. The mandatory intoxicant checkpoints now see drivers being tested for both alcohol and drugs.
The device used in drug testing can detect the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates and benzodiazepines in a saliva sample.
Since the introduction of the measures over two years ago, more gardaí have been trained in using the device and more of the devices, called (Draeger DrugTest 5000), have also been introduced.
In May, the Medical Bureau of Road Safety outlined that cannabis is the main drug of choice for drivers who flout drug-driving laws.
Anyone convicted of drug driving can face a disqualification of up to four years, if their driving has been impaired by drugs including cannabis, cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs. Penalties include a fine of up to €5,000 and up to six months in prison.
It is also an offence to refuse to give a saliva sample. The penalty for this is a fine of up to €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not over six months.