Drug driving a growing danger on our roads

The Western Region Drugs Task Force has joined forces with the Road Safety Authority and An Garda Síochána to put out a warning to drivers this Christmas to stay off the roads if they are under the influence of either drugs or alcohol.

RSA research on the use of illegal drugs while driving has highlighted worrying risky behaviour among 17 to 34-year-olds in particular. More than one in five surveyed (22 per cent ) admitted they were passengers in a car that was driven by someone under the influence of drugs. Of the 1,000 sampled, nearly half had used recreational drugs at some point, with six per cent saying they had been behind the wheel of a car under the influence.

The campaign aims to highlight that driving under the influence of drugs—either illegal or legal drugs which compromise road safety —is just as dangerous as getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol. “It's also against the law,” said Noel Brett, chief executive of the RSA.

“Drug-drivers typically think they're more competent drivers while they're under the influence, but the RSA survey reveals that 50 per cent of these same drivers had already been fined for other traffic offences,” he revealed.

Garda Commissioner for the west, Donal O Cualain, said that driving under the influence of drink or drugs not only put the driver at risk but also risked the lives of innocent passengers and other road users. “Drugs and alcohol acting on the brain alters perceptions, co-ordination and action time required for safe driving,” he said. “If you think drug-taking has little impact on your driving you could be tragically mistaken.”

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