Gov’t amends the GEO on drug testing of drivers

If No Result in 72 Hours, Driver's Licenses Back.

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Drivers who do not receive their drug test results from forensic medicine laboratories within three days will be able to get their driving licenses back, as they should not suffer due to the state’s lack of administrative capacity to complete testing in a reasonable time, PM Marcel Ciolacu announced at the beginning of Thursday’s government meeting.

“As I announced, we are amending the emergency ordinance regarding road safety. Specifically, I am referring to the suspension of driver’s licenses pending the completion of drug tests in forensic laboratories. If the result does not come within a maximum of 72 hours, the drivers get their licenses back,” the PM said.

The amendments come after observations made by civil society. A petition initiated by Declic, calling for the repeal of the emergency ordinance on how drivers are tested, has gathered almost 200,000 signatures. Also, today Declic will organize a protest in Piața Victoriei against the ordinance.

“I asked the Ministry of the Interior to take into account the observations of civil society, because that is natural. If the state does not have the administrative capacity to solve the problem of testing within a reasonable time, we should not punish the Romanians”, declared PM Ciolacu.

He underlined that the measures to prevent road accidents caused by the consumption of drugs while driving are very important, but they cannot affect civil liberties.

“We will continue to monitor the issue of drug testing very carefully, this is the only way we can prevent tragedies like the one last year in 2 Mai seaside resort. The Ministries of Health and Internal Affairs will present a monthly joint analysis on the ability to respect the 72-hour deadline. We are also preparing rules regarding the collection, storage and transport of samples for anti-drug testing. They will be ready in five days from the entry into force of today’s Emergency Ordinance. I hope that Minister Predoiu has learned his lesson and in the future he will not put the cart before the horse”, said the prime minister.

The version in which GEO 84 was originally drafted leaves drivers who refuse drug testing without a license, until the results from forensic medicine laboratories arrive. The ordinance applies to both cyclists and scooter riders.

The Interior Minister Catalin Predoiu had also explained the amendments.

“The ordinance establishes a term of 72 hours in which forensic medicine institutions must issue toxicological analyzes to highlight the presence or not of alcohol and prohibited substances in the blood of persons who have tested positive with a drug test or who have refused testing. The second important change is that at the end of the 72-hour period, in which the result does not arrive from the laboratory, the license is returned to the person concerned. There is also a third important amendment, which aims at the fact that these analyzes are performed only by forensic medicine institutions”, said Cătălin Predoiu at the end of the government meeting.

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