Police to trial drug driving test equipment

Police forces are set to trial equipment that will test whether drivers are under the influence of illegal drugs.

If the trial is successful, the equipment could be rolled out to all police forces in the UK over the next two years.
Testing for drugs at the roadside is said to be more difficult than it is for alcohol. Specifications for the devices are being sent to manufacturers by the end of September.

The move comes after the publication of a report by Sir Peter North in June that said the problem was "out of all proportion" in comparison to the official figures. Currently many drug-driving cases don't get reported as potential offenders aren't recognised or the drugs have left their system by the time they are tested at a police station.

Sir Peter North's report suggests that testing should involve assessment of the driver's saliva, but it is not known whether this will be the case.

Motoring organisations have welcomed the news, as Kevin Delaney, the Institute of Advanced Motorists' head of road safety, said: "This is a positive step as drugalyser kits will simplify the procedure."

However, he warned that officers should also be trained to spot drug drivers in the first place, adding: "They will only be of use with the right number of police on street exercising their powers of detection."
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