On the 27th of November 2014 the RSA (Road Safety Authority) launched a Christmas and New Year road safety campaign in conjunction with the Medical Bureau for Road Safety in UCD and the Garda Síochána. The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness of the new Roadside Impairment Testing (RIT), which has been introduced by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Mr Paschal Donohoe.
The RIT (Roadside Impairment Testing) gives the Gardaí the authority to request a driver that they suspect to be driving under the influence of drugs (DUID) to complete five impairment tests:
Test 1: Pupillary Examination – A Garda will ask a motorist to look straight ahead and keep their eyes open, and will measure the driver’s pupil for dilation.
Test 2: Romberg Tests – A Garda will ask the driver to do a short counting exercise with their eyes closed, which measures balance and an awareness of body positioning.
Test 3: Walk and Turn – A Garda will ask the driver to walk 9 steps along a straight line and turn without counting aloud. This measures both balance and ability to focus.
Test 4: One Leg Stand – A Garda will ask the driver to stand on one leg for approx 8 counts. This measures ability to balance.
Test 5: Finger to Nose – A Garda will ask the driver to touch his/her nose with both right and left index fingers with eyes closed. This measures ability to perform a basic motor task.
The minister said that he intends to introduce new roadside chemical testing devices, which Gardaí could use to accurately determine if the driver has taken illegal or prescribed drugs. Professor of the Medical Bureau for Road Safety, Denis Cusack said the new measures were aimed at “people foolish enough to put themselves and others at risk”.
Are these impairment tests enough to determine if someone is under the influence of drugs?
Words By Niall.