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On this month’s traffic segment Garda Derek Cloughley was in studio to discuss the recent introduction of Preliminary Drug Testing which was introduced last week by Minister Ross.

Preliminary Drug Testing came into effect at midnight on 13th April 2017. The new Garda powers mean Gardaí can now test drivers for the presence of both alcohol and drugs.

These tests will be carried out by An Garda Síochána using the Dräger DrugTest® 5000, an easy to use mobile drug screening system that tests a sample of a driver’s oral fluid (saliva) for the presence of cannabis, cocaine, opiates (e.g. heroin, morphine) and benzodiazepines (e.g. valium). The new devices will also be available in Garda stations.

Penalties upon conviction for drug driving include:

• Minimum 1-year driving disqualification if you are found to be above the legal threshold for cocaine, cannabis or heroin (since April 2017)

• Minimum of 4 years driving disqualification if you are found to have drugs in your body and are impaired to such an extent that you do not have proper control of a vehicle

• Up to €5,000 fine

• Up to 6 months in prison