ONE-IN-FIVE young people have admitted to travelling in a car driven by someone under the influence of drugs.
Responding to the results of the survey by the Road Safety Authority (RSA), Transport Minister Noel Dempsey announced more powers would soon be given to gardaí to test whether drivers had drugs in their system.
Speaking at the launch of a national anti-drug driving campaign, RSA chief executive Noel Brett said motorists using drugs underestimated the effect they could have on driving ability.
“Typically drug-drivers think they are better drivers while under the influence of some drugs. They also think there is a lower risk of collision compared with drink driving, overestimate their ability to compensate for impairment and demonstrate little knowledge of the effects of driving under the influence of drugs,” he said.
The online survey was conducted among 1,000 people aged 17 to 34.
While one in five passengers admitted to getting in a car with a driver on drugs, the research showed 1 in 20 (5%) of young drivers admitted to having driven under the influence of recreational drugs.
Mr Dempsey said that extra powers for gardaí to test drivers for drug use would be introduced under the recently introduced Road Traffic Bill.
“This problem can only be tackled by generating a greater understanding in the general population of the impairing effects of drugs on driving,” he said.
The minister also urged road users to take extra care while travelling this Bank Holiday weekend.
The new RSA advertising campaign will be seen on television and in cinemas across the country.
One advert called Dead Girl Talking will show a young woman describing how she and her friends were involved in a collision after taking drugs.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved