Roadside tests to fight rise in drug-driving

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The Independent Online

The sight of drivers standing at the roadside on one leg is to become more common this summer as police crack down on driving under the influence of drugs.

Officers will target motorists whose driving is impaired because of the effects of illegal or prescription drugs, as well as alcohol.

Senior officers say that drug-driving is a growing problem and can be as dangerous as driving after drinking too much alcohol. Patrols will be using common-sense tests to determine if a driver is under the influence of drugs.

These include asking the individual to stand on one leg, to walk in a straight line and to place a finger accurately on their nose. Drivers who refuse to undertake the procedure, known as a field impairment test, can be arrested.

The Chief Constable of Nottinghamshire, Steve Green, said drivers needed to be responsible in their attitude to driving and drinking or being under the influence of drugs, whether illicit or prescribed.

He added: "The police service is not willing to tolerate this type of offending and it is our intention to crack down heavily during this campaign.

"If an officer suspects that a person is unfit to drive through the use of drugs, then they can be subjected to a field impairment test.

"If it is deemed to be the case and they are found guilty of such an offence, then the courts can impose the same penalties as for drink-driving."

David Snelling, the Chief Superintendent of the Metropolitan Police, said drink and drugs reduced concentration and slowed reactions.He said: "The safest option is not to drink at all if you plan to drive."

The drink- and drug-driving campaign will run until 2 September.