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Irish drivers to face 15-minute wait for drug test results

MOTORISTS will be forced to endure 15-minute delays on the side of the road when new mandatory drugs tests come into effect, the Sunday Independent can reveal.

Unlike breathalyser tests, which can take just a minute to complete, the new drugs test will require motorists to wait at roadside checkpoints for at least a quarter of an hour until the results are known.

Medical Bureau for Road Safety chief Professor Denis Cusack told the Sunday Independent the test would take that length of time as the device used will be analysing saliva for traces of up to seven different drugs.

“In comparison to the breathalyser, it is longer, about 15 minutes or so,” said Prof Cusack. “But remember you are testing for several substances and also you can’t use breath. It has to be oral fluid. So there is no doubt it is going to take longer.”

When asked about the potential for traffic delays due to the length of time involved in each test, the professor said it would be up to gardai to choose the particular point in the road where checkpoints are situated. The long awaited test is finally expected to be in operation in early 2015.

It will be used in conjunction with standard roadside impairment tests, which require motorists to perform simple co-ordination tasks such as walking a straight line or standing on one leg.

By Shane Phelan
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