First Ireland Newsletter.
New driving laws were introduced on 27th November 2014. The new laws will allow Gardaí to take blood samples from drivers injured in a crash.
Minister for Transport, Pascal Donohoe, announced the new legislation at the launch of the Annual Christmas Road Safety Campaign. They effectively close the loophole which enabled drunk drivers avoid testing if they claimed injury or were rendered unconscious.
Medical staff can now take a blood sample from drivers who were otherwise incapacitated or unable to provide consent.
The driver, once fit, will have the opportunity to consent to the issue of a certificate detailing the blood level alcoholol content which may be used in subsequent prosecutions. Refusal will be treated as an offence in as much the same way that refusing to provide a sample to the gardaí and will be punishable by either penalties or disqualification from driving.
Under the new laws, Gardaí can also perform roadside impairment testing for drugs which include a range of balance and co-ordination movements. The new tests will enable Gardaí to identify and prosecute intoxicated drivers which is seen as a new tool for enforcing the law against drug driving.
Hopefully this new legislation will keep us safer on the roads this Christmas and help reduce road deaths which have increased over the last two years.