Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Questions (743, 744)

Niall Collins

Question:

743. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to review the time limits on drug and alcohol testing; the legislation involved; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10131/13]

View answer

Niall Collins

Question:

744. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport his plans to make leaving the scene of a fatal accident an indictable offence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10133/13]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Transport)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 743 and 744 together.

My Department is currently engaged with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting of a new Road Traffic Bill.  Neither the issue of time-limits within which drug and alcohol testing must take place nor the question of making leaving the scene of an accident where damage to persons or property occurs an indictable offence was included in the original General Scheme of the Bill. 

However, as I indicated to the Deputy in the Dáil on 20 February 2013, I am open to considering the option of making an offence under section 106 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 - the section addressing leaving the scene of an accident - an indictable offence in certain circumstances.  I will be seeking legal advice on the matter, in due course, including the proportionality of any such a change to how the offence will be tried in court.

The issue of time-limits for conducting drug and alcohol tests is also one to which I will give consideration in consultation with the Medical Bureau of Road Safety.  In this case there are both scientific and medical issues to be considered, as alcohol and drugs will break down in the bloodstream over time, and later testing may not be of benefit in determining levels of intoxicants at the time of actual driving.