THERE has been a massive rise in detections of drug-driving in the first six months of 2020.
In comparison to the same period last year, there has been an increase of 128 per cent.
From January-June 2019, there were 57 drug-driving detections in Donegal.
In the first six months of this year, there were 130 detections for drug-driving.
The figures are totals across the four Districts of the Donegal Division: Ballyshannon, Buncrana, Letterkenny and Milford.
Cannabis, cocaine and opiates are among the drugs detected in drivers recently.
“Detection of drug and drink drivers remains a priority in County Donegal as set out in the 2020 Policing plan,” a spokesman for An Garda Síochána told Donegal Daily.
“The Donegal Garda Division has benefited from an additional allocation of drug testing equipment since last year and the availability of extra equipment does impact on the number of detections.
“An Garda Síochána continues to emphasise that people should never ever drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”
Several times during the Covid-19 lockdown, Gardaí in Donegal expressed concern at the sharp increase.
In one week in April, there were nine drug-driving detections in Donegal. In two separate weeks in April, five drug-driving detections were noted.
In one case, a motorist was stopped at a Covid-19 checkpoint on the Letterkenny to Lifford Road, claiming to have taken a wrong turn on a journey from Co. Down to Bundoran.
The driver was arrested for the offence of drug driving after they were found to be under the influence of cannabis and opiates.
A second drug-testing device was obtained by Donegal Gardaí earlier in the year.
Gardaí have reminded road users of the consequences of a drug driving conviction, should anyone decide to get behind the wheel of a car when under the influence of drugs.
If convicted, a driver will face a minimum period of disqualification for one year. The judge then has the discretion to disqualify for a longer period if they feel it is warranted in the particular circumstances.
The Court may also impose a fine of up to €5,000 and or a prison term not exceeding six months.Tags: