MPs have approved the use of drugalyser, roadside testing kits, that can be used to determine whether a driver has either cannabis or cocaine in their system. Currently, the police must prove that the offender’s driving was impaired by drugs, but the new roadside testing kits will negate the need for this and will mean that anybody found to have the drugs in their system could be prosecuted.
The tests are set to be introduced from March 2015 and police have said that drivers will not know whether they are going to be given an alcohol or drug roadside test, or even both, when they are pulled over. The new testing kits work by taking a saliva sample and testing them immediately. As yet, legal highs are not detectable, although police hope to introduce these as part of the tests if the ability should be introduced.
Under the current system, if an officer believes that a motorist is under the influence of drugs while behind the wheel, they must take them to the police station and have them submit to a blood test. Many drivers simply refuse on the grounds of health or religion, giving the drugs time to leave their system. The new test uses saliva, removing this problem and ensuring that people can be tested immediately and without even having to take them to the station.
The police say that the majority of road users will be behind the use of the testing kits, because they support the drive to remove drug drivers from the roads. They say that driving while under the influence of illegal drugs like cannabis and cocaine not only puts the lives of the driver at risk, but also risks the lives of all other road users and pedestrians.
The kits are set to be released in March, and it is believed that they will be put straight into use, with police able to use them at the side of the road when they would also use a breathalyser. Random tests may also be carried out, and drivers will not know whether they are going to be stopped to test for alcohol, drugs, or both.