In the whole of the UK, 56% of drivers tested by the police for drugs at the roadside register positive, while the Cheshire constabulary has witnessed an 800% increase in arrests for drug driving.
This new development in arrests is linked to the popular use of the new roadside drug testing devices, with which the UK police are now equipped, owing to the 2015 changes in the drug driving law. By analysing saliva, the new gadgets are able to detect drugs in the human system in just eight minutes.
The government even announced on the 28th of February 2016 that the police have received an extra £1 million to buy new drug screening equipment, pay for sample analysis, and train officers.
How the Roadside Drug Tests Work
If the police suspect a driver is drug driving, they reserve the right to pull him or her over. Two of the powerful devices that they leverage are Drager’s DT5000 and Drugwipe, and they both make use of saliva swabs, which make them less intrusive than equipment for blood testing.
While Drager’s DT5000 mobile drug screening system can detect seven of the most commonly abused drugs (opiates, cocaine, cannabinoids, amphetamines, methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, and methadone) just by testing oral fluids, Drugwipe can check for cannabis and cocaine in the same way.
What Drugs Are Tested for?
When drug testing is mentioned, it’s easy to think about illegal drugs only. This is why the abuse of prescription (legal) drugs is on the rise across the world. Unfortunately for legal drug abusers, the UK drug driving law encompasses both illegal and legal drugs.
Some of the legal drugs include Clonazepam, Diazepam, Lorazepam, Methadone, and Morphine, and they are used for treating panic attacks, anxiety disorders, muscle spasms, seizures, heroin withdrawal symptoms, and to relieve pain.
This means that any driver could be using any of these drugs legally. That is why the drug driving law prohibits driving under the influence of either legal or illegal drugs.
What Drivers Should Do
Avoid using illegal drugs and when you have been prescribed with a legal one, stick to your doctor’s prescription. These drugs are prescribed because they are dangerous when taken without restrictions. They can be highly addictive, they can affect your temperament and behaviour, and they can cause further health complications. That’s why you should also make sure that they have cleared your system before getting behind the wheel.
In fact, you shouldn’t be driving at all when taking these medications–whether they have cleared your system or not. If you have to go to work, find someone to drive you. Also if your work is to drive, present evidence of your prescription and excuse yourself from work while taking your medications.
This doesn’t only spare you the problems of being arrested by the police for drug driving (the 12-month driving ban, a criminal record, an unlimited fine, up to 6-month imprisonment, and other legal issues you could face), it also spares you the awful risks of accidents and of injuring or killing yourself or another person in the process.