Section 12:

Assisting Gardai

An Garda Síochána are responsible for enforcing road traffic law. This section covers the Garda signals and instructions you must obey when on the road.


If a Garda is controlling traffic, their signals override all other signals from traffic lights. This means that if they signal you to stop, for example, you must do so even if a green light is showing. The signals and their meanings are shown below. You must understand them so you know how to respond when in traffic.

Garda hand signals directing traffic


You must do the following if a Garda asks you to:

  • Show your driving licence, which you must carry at all times when driving.
  • Allow the Garda to examine the insurance disc, tax disc, and, where relevant the NCT disc, all of which you must display on your vehicle.
  • Produce a certificate of roadworthiness or NCT certificate, as appropriate, at a named Garda station within 10 days.
  • Produce a valid motor insurance certificate to a Garda within 10 days of it being requested. A Garda may ask to see a valid motor insurance certificate anytime up to a month after observing or reasonably believing that an uninsured vehicle has been used in a public place.
  • Produce the vehicle registration certificate at any reasonable time.
  • Stop your vehicle and allow a Garda to check it for defects.
  • Give your name and address.
  • Write out your signature.
  • Give a sample of your breath. You may be required to provide a roadside breath sample if you have been involved in a crash, if you have committed a road traffic offence or if a Garda forms the opinion that you have consumed an intoxicant, such as, alcohol or certain drugs.

Road side Breath test by garda

  • Gardai can set up Mandatory Alcohol Testing checkpoints (MATs) to take roadside breath samples without the need to form the opinion that you have consumed an intoxicant. It is a criminal offence to refuse to provide a sample.
  • If you are arrested for an offence related to alcohol and driving or refusing to give a roadside breath sample, you will be required to provide a sample of breath and blood or urine at a Garda station.

Other controls on road users

  • Officials from the Revenue Commissioners including Customs may also stop and examine vehicles.
  • Your vehicle may also be impounded by a Revenue Official and/or Gardai.
  • You may also be stopped by the Garda. working with Transport Officers from the Road Safety Authority who will check the Tachograph and Operator's Licence.

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