Tuesday, 25 April 2006
Dáil Eireann Debate
479. Mr. G. Mitchell asked the Minister for Transport his views on amending the law to allow for persons who are involved in car accidents and who feign illness or an injury to be tested for alcohol and drug levels; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14385/06]
Minister for Transport (Mr. Cullen): The Road Traffic Acts provide that a member of the Garda Síochána may require a person in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle to provide a preliminary breath specimen where the vehicle is involved in a road collision or where a garda considers that a road traffic offence has been committed, or where a garda forms the opinion that the person has consumed alcohol.
The purpose of preliminary roadside breath testing is to provide gardaí with a facility to assist them in determining whether a person in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle has consumed alcohol. However, the Road Traffic Acts provide that a person may be arrested for a drink driving offence without recourse to a preliminary breath test. In particular, there may be circumstances, especially in the context of a road collision, where it may not be possible for a member of the Garda to require that a person submit to a preliminary breath test.
Garda discretion in the use of preliminary roadside tests is an integral and important element of the enforcement provisions relating to the laws applying to drink driving and I do not propose to alter that position.
The Road Traffic Acts also place an obligation on a person to provide a blood or urine sample in a hospital. This applies where an event occurs involving a vehicle which results in a person being injured, or a person claiming or appearing to have been injured, where the person is admitted to or attends a hospital, and a member of the Garda is of the opinion that, at the time of the event, the person had consumed an intoxicant. An intoxicant includes alcohol and drugs or any combination of alcohol and drugs.
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