Drugalysers used for the first time in summer drink drive campaigns

Published: 03/09/2015

It comes round every summer – no not Wimbledon – the summer drink drive campaigns! With longer, lighter nights and better weather (well sometimes) people take to the roads and drive out for a drink in the evenings or drive to socialise at the weekends and so the police also crack-down on drink driving. However this year there’s a different feature as, for the first time, the police have also been able to target drug-drivers.

‘Drugalyser’ devices have been used by the police since March of this year to test for cocaine and cannabis. A saliva sample is taken and the device takes only three minutes to detect the drugs. However, drug testing needn’t stop there. Police can test for other drugs – ecstasy, ketamine and heroin at the station even if the driver passes the roadside check. Any driver exceeding the limits set for the presence of eight illegal drugs and eight prescription drugs can face prosecution.

The punishments for those testing positive for drug driving include a criminal record, loss of licence for at least a year and a fine of up to £5,000. In Wales alone police arrested 52 people under the new drug driving offences.

Personal injury solicitor, Kevin Smith comments on this new initiative:

“Summer should be a time of relaxation and an opportunity for families to spend some time together outdoors – in the countryside or at barbeques and so on. Sadly for some this happy time is marred when a family member is injured in a car accident as a result of drink driving or drug driving.

“It’s good to know that the police now have the equipment to apprehend and prosecute not just drink drivers but also drug drivers. I hope that this reduces the number of road traffic accidents and consequently the numbers of those injured in a road accident.”

Content correct at time of publication

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