Motorists to face roadside drug tests
Police to use handheld machine giving fast results from next year
New technology that can test drivers for illegal drugs in as little as90 seconds will be ready for police use as early as next year, The Independent has learnt.
Government officials are keen to approve the roadside gadgetry "as soon as possible", with developers working to have the devices ready for use by the second half of next year. The breakthrough technology will allow police officers to test drivers for heroin, cocaine, cannabis, methamphetamines and amphetamines by testing a swab of a driver's saliva in a handheld device.
Roadside testing has been hampered in the past by the slowness of the process, which can take about 10 minutes. Other effective drugs tests require a urine sample, making them difficult to implement for drug-driving tests.
The Transport minister, Jim Fitzpatrick, wants to crack down on those who use a car while under the influence of drugs, including legal drugs that can impair concentration. Up to a fifth of drivers killed in road accidents are found to have drugs in their system.
An older version of the technology is already being used by the Home Office to test offenders for drugs. They are also used for roadside testing by police in countries including Australia, Italy and Croatia.
A swab of saliva is placed in a handheld tester the size of a chip-and-pin machine. Officers are then told whether the driver has passed or failed the test and which drugs have been detected.
A source at the Department for Transport said: "We are working very closely with the Home Office to make sure the approval document needed for roadside devices is completed as soon as possible. We are serious about tackling the problem of drug-driving."
Talks have been held between the company producing the technology, Concateno, and the Department for Transport. Philip Hand, a consultant with Concateno, said: "The new system will be easy for police to use and appropriate for roadside tests. We are hoping to receive the necessary approval before the devices are ready to be rolled out at the end of the year."
The Government plans to create legislation to bring drug-driving in line with drink-driving. Other measures proposed in its road safety consultation, published yesterday, include a plan to ban drivers who are twice caught exceeding a speed limit by 20mph. The Government is also considering a lowering of the legal alcohol limit from 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood to 50mg – the level most commonly used throughout the EU.
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...