Drugalyser test could be flawed claims IAM

IAM say 'measure of impairment' needed

DRUG-DRIVING is set to become a punishable offence as outlined in the Queen’s speech today but the proposal is somewhat clouded claims the Institute of Advanced Motorists - an organisation that represents motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists.

Currently police can only test for drugs by using a Field Impairment Test (FIT) which tests a driver's co-ordination, however they will now have access to a machine similar to a breathalyser which can be used at the roadside, taking saliva sample to look for drugs in the driver's system.  The machines, dubbed as 'druigalysers' are set to receive type approval from the Home Office by the end of the year.

Ministers revealed on Monday that motorists found to have taken drugs could face a prison sentence of up to six months, a ban of at least 12-months and a £5,000 fine. An expert panel will be brought in to advise on which drugs are to be covered by the offence.

However, the roadside drug testing system could be flawed says IAM chief executive Simon Best: “While we support the introduction of the drugalyser test and this offence, it needs to be backed up by some measure of impairment. Without this, the test could simply catch those people who have used drugs at some point, but are not necessarily still impaired by them.

“Impairment as the key factor is also essential in tackling drivers who may have used over the counter or prescription drugs, which while legal, can have an equal impact on driving ability as illegal ones.”

The Transport Research Laboratory has conducted studies on drug-driving and claims they are a factor in a almost quarter of fatal accidents.