Gardaí are to begin testing motorists for drug use.

Figures from the Medical Bureau of Road Safety over the last three years show that up to sixty per cent of motorists stopped by Gardaí for bad driving, while having no alcohol in their systems, are under the influence of some kind of drug mainly cannabis or prescription drugs.

Between fifty and sixty per cent of these drivers were under the influence of some kind of drugs.

The figures also indicate that one in seven drivers who were over the alcohol limit were also on drugs. Gardaí are now putting measures in place to deal with the problem of motorists drug driving.

Professor Denis Cusack of the Medical Bureau of Road Safety acknowledges that just as there is a problem with drink driving, there is also a problem of driving under the influence of drugs. He says that anything that influences your ability to drive is dangerous and can cause an increase in accidents and road deaths.

Gardaí say that drug driving is becoming a bigger problem.

According to Chief Supt John Farrelly of the Garda Traffic Bureau, the Gardaí are now part of an EU initiative by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network for roadside testing for drugs.

Fine Gael has called on the government to introduce a roadside drug testing system similar to the system used in Australia as a matter of urgency.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 21 August 2006. The reporter is Samantha Libreri.