The Roadside Drug Test - is it Working?
The festive period is around the corner. Police notoriously step up stop checks as more road users are tempted by after-work drinks, office parties and boozy family do's. Do they work?
New Laws were introduced in March to allow police officers to check drivers are not under the influence of drugs. So are the new roadside drug tests working?
Auto Express has obtained the official figures and these make for shocking reading …
Since March 2,038 drug tests were carried out by police with 1,080 reading positive. That’s a massive 53% of drivers who have failed a roadside drug test and were driving under the influence of drugs.
The test is as quick and simple for police as the drink driving breathalyser test. The kit, being called the ‘drugalyser’, just requires a sample of saliva. Positive results are followed up with urine and blood tests at the police station.
The most commonly found drugs were cannabis, with 854 positive results, 150 drivers tested positive for cocaine and 66 drivers had a worrying mix of both cannabis and cocaine in their systems.
The Metropolitan police has conducted the most tests in the first 6 months testing 456 motorists. 45% of those tested failed. Over the whole country June was the busiest month for roadside drug tests, with police carrying out 430 tests with a failure rate of 58%.
You may think if you don’t take any illegal substances then this law will not affect your life. You would be wrong. The law also applies to several prescription drugs;
The advice to motorists who may be taking these medications is, as long as you are taking them as prescribed you should be fine. These medications have been included as they are often the ones that are misused, so have the potential to adversely affect driving ability. Motorists are advised to keep proof of use for any of these medications they take to show police if they are stopped.
If you are found guilty of drug-driving the penalties are tough. You will have a criminal record, a driving ban for at least a year and a fine that could cost you anywhere up to £5,000.
With drug driving now as easy to test and detect as drink driving Ministers hope people will be deterred from driving under the influence of drugs. This could save an estimated 84 lives and 330 serious injuries over the next 20 years.
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16 November 2015
Written by Natalie Faughy