First trials of roadside drug-test equipment

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ROADSIDE testing for drivers under the influence of drugs began trials in Britain yesterday, writes Louise Jury

Motorists in four areas were stopped and asked to volunteer for the tests which might lead the way to tough new legislation for drivers who use drugs.

Five thousand drivers in Cleveland, Strathclyde, Sussex and Lancashire will be tested over a three-week period to provide valuable information about the suitability of the equipment for day-to-day use.

Baroness Hayman, the road safety minister, ordered trials after figures showed that one in five drivers killed in accidents were under the influence of drugs.

Four different versions of a device called Drugwipe, a pen-type swab which takes sweat from the forehead (pictured), will be used to check for cannabis, cocaine, opiates and amphetamines.

Tests are planned for another device that detects drugs through saliva. Future tests will check the accuracy and reliability of both tests.