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#917076 - 21st Dec 2014 5:06pm Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers
Mark Online   Reading


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Registered: 9th Nov 2003
Posts: 20958
Loc: Wirral
Christmas roadside drug tests for drivers

This is worth a read as now prescription drugs could get you banned

Drivers will be stopped by police and tested for drugs by the side of the road in a war on drug-driving this Christmas and New Year holiday.
The Home Office has approved roadside testing kits that will analyse samples of saliva instantly to detect illegal substances as well as so-called "legal highs".
Police will also use the kits to catch drivers who have taken prescription medicines, including strong painkillers, sleeping pills and drugs to treat anxiety, that can impair their ability to concentrate on the road.

Ministers are to order police to carry the "drugalyser" kits alongside conventional "breathalysers", which test motorists for alcohol consumption. Officers are expected to begin using the equipment within days.
The focus on drug-driving comes after decades of campaigning against people who drink and drive.

Police chiefs and ministers believe a growing number of younger people are taking illegal drugs such as cocaine, ketamine and cannabis before driving because they think they will not be caught.
The saliva tests, which have been approved for roadside use for the first time, will speed up the process of identifying offenders before substances leave their bloodstream.
At present, officers have to arrest suspects and take them to a police station to undergo time-consuming blood tests that must be conducted under medical supervision.
The wait for a doctor can undermine the effectiveness of the tests. Mike Penning, the policing minister, said the "drugalyser" kits were approved by the Home Office last week for use in prosecuting motorists who drive while impaired by a range of illegal and prescription drugs.
"This is something that has plagued society for far too long," he said.
"People will have exactly the same view of drug-driving as they do of drink-driving: it is an abhorrent thing to do.
"Not only do you put your own life at risk, but you put innocent people’s lives at risk. We will drive this menace off the road.
"You won’t know if that constable at the side of the road is going to breathalyse you or if he is going to breathalyse you and drugalyse you. The answer is, do not drink and drive and do not take drugs and drive, whether they are legal or not."

Police chiefs and ministers fear that many people who take recreational drugs and drive think they can get away with it because the testing process is so cumbersome that it is not widely used.
Suspects taken to a police station for testing can escape prosecution if they claim to be unable to give a blood sample for religious or medical reasons, allowing time for the drugs to leave their bodies.
Driving under the influence of drugs is a significant cause of road accidents each year. Last year 921 people were hurt in 594 road accidents in Britain in which the driver or rider was impaired by legal or medicinal drugs. Of these, 36 people were killed and 241 injured seriously.

However, difficulties in obtaining evidence of drug use mean the true scale of the problem is likely to be far higher than official figures have shown. Ministers have estimated that drug-driving causes 200 deaths a year, but perpetrators are 50 times less likely to be convicted than drink-drivers.
Mr Penning, a Tory, said he had wanted to be able to act against drug-driving since he first encountered the effects it could have in his time working as a fireman, before he entered politics.
"We know that we have illegal drug use. Being impaired by taking medication or drugs or legal highs, if that impairs your driving ability, you’re going to cause accidents and kill people – and kill yourself. It is just the same as someone who is drunk," he said.
People taken to a station for testing "would claim that they had religious reasons or were haemophiliacs" or had other special reasons that meant they could not give a blood sample, he said. While they wasted time arguing, the drug was leaving their bodies.
"This will transform the ability of officers [in cases where] they know someone is impaired but breathalyse them for drink and find they have not got enough alcohol in their bloodstream to prosecute, but they’re still completely out of their tree.
"They will be able to do a saliva test at the roadside and a saliva test at the station."

As with failure to complete an alcohol test, if motorists refuse repeatedly to take the drug tests, they will be prosecuted, he said.
The kits will be able to test for a range of substances, including so-called "legal highs" and medicines that cause drowsiness and should not be taken by drivers.
A new criminal offence of drug-driving" comes into force in March, and will be used to prosecute motorists found with quantities of drugs in their bloodstream above specified levels. Substances to be tested for include cocaine, heroin and cannabis, as well as some prescription painkillers, sleeping pills, and drugs used to treat anxiety.
Mr Penning said: "They won’t know what drugs we are looking for.
"The key is it’s not just about illegal drugs. If you go and get a prescription for strong painkillers it will say on there, ‘This may cause drowsiness, do not use heavy equipment and do not drive’.
"People sadly do, and then you have terrible accidents. We are not penalising motorists. We are trying to keep people safe, exactly as we do with drink."
Saliva testing kits will be sent to officers for use to speed up drug tests in police stations, and hand-held versions of the devices will be taken out in patrol cars for roadside tests, he said. The process of introducing the new equipment across the country is expected to begin this week.
Roadside saliva testing for drugs already takes place in Australia and Germany, but police have been awaiting Home Office approval for the equipment in Britain.
This was formally given last week and the kits are now officially deemed to be reliable and secure enough to provide robust evidence.
Several police forces began using saliva tests for cannabis only inside police stations earlier this year.
"When this is fully rolled out it will be exactly the same as drink driving," Mr Penning said.
"I will be telling chief constables to take this up as quickly as possible."


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#917127 - 21st Dec 2014 7:44pm Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: Mark]
RUDEBOX Offline

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Registered: 29th Aug 2008
Posts: 18996
Loc: Bob Land
"Police will also use the kits to catch drivers who have taken prescription medicines, including strong painkillers, sleeping pills and drugs to treat anxiety, that can impair their ability to concentrate on the road".

Interesting........will this be rolled out to cover the rest of the year??? How many drivers must there be out there on legal prescription drugs?? A driver on 'middle/ long term' medication may not even realise that their driving skills are impaired.
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#917131 - 21st Dec 2014 8:03pm Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: RUDEBOX]
sonylegs Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 18th Nov 2014
Posts: 427
Loc: wallasey
lots of medicines "cause" drowsiness.


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#917135 - 21st Dec 2014 8:44pm Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: Mark]
fish5133 Offline
Forum Master

Registered: 22nd Mar 2010
Posts: 2569
Loc: Heswallish
Interesting to know if it is actually a crime to drive if having taken painkillers. If so I have often broken the law just to be able to get through a days work. Obviously if your dizzy you shouldn't get in a car to drive. If the police stop you because your driving erratically or dangerously then good -- all for the test. Solicitors rubbing there hands

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#917137 - 21st Dec 2014 10:32pm Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: Mark]
j_demo Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 4th Nov 2011
Posts: 1827
Loc: Wallasey/New Brighton
This is a joke. I've been on tramadol and codeine for about 8 years now and oter than easing pain i experience no other side effects that i did at the start (seeing pretty colours, feeling light headed and drowsy) i experience none of those now but i could still be fined/given points etc for just wanting to get through my day pain free??? What a joke.

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#917148 - 22nd Dec 2014 7:45am Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: j_demo]
_Ste_ Offline


Wiki Master

Registered: 7th Aug 2005
Posts: 15985
Loc: New Brighton
Originally Posted By: j_demo
This is a joke. I've been on tramadol and codeine for about 8 years now and oter than easing pain i experience no other side effects that i did at the start (seeing pretty colours, feeling light headed and drowsy) i experience none of those now but i could still be fined/given points etc for just wanting to get through my day pain free??? What a joke.


Think of your liver man.
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#917151 - 22nd Dec 2014 8:05am Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: Mark]
Dilly Offline

Wiki Addict

Registered: 17th Jul 2011
Posts: 7545
Loc: wallasey
Maybe then with prescribed medicines doctors should warn us at the point of prescribing them that they are on a list of drugs that may impair driving capabilities .

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#917156 - 22nd Dec 2014 9:14am Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: Mark]
Salmon Offline
Forum Addict

Registered: 8th Oct 2011
Posts: 1698
Loc: Wallasey
The leaflets that you get with the drugs will almost certainly list the possibility of impaired driving or operating machinery but how many of us read the leaflets?

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#917160 - 22nd Dec 2014 9:24am Re: Christmas roadside DRUG tests for drivers [Re: Salmon]
Dilly Offline

Wiki Addict

Registered: 17th Jul 2011
Posts: 7545
Loc: wallasey
Originally Posted By: Salmon
The leaflets that you get with the drugs will almost certainly list the possibility of impaired driving or operating machinery but how many of us read the leaflets?

how many of us have eyesight good enough to read them smile

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