When you hear about people driving under the influence, you tend to think of alcohol first, but the reality is about half of the people tagged with a DUI actually have drugs in their system. This has led to road safety advocates campaigning for drug tests to be administered to all drivers in the event of a crash.
The most recent numbers from the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) show that drug related incidents are very much on the rise. In June 2017, a total of 2,022 people were stopped by the police, with 1,084 of them having illegal drugs in their system. That translated to 53.6%, a dramatic increase over the 39% from 2016.
How Do Drugs Affect Your Ability to Drive?
There are all sorts of different illegal drugs on the market, but we are going to focus on 3 of the most common, and talk about how they can affect you when you drive.
- Cocaine – This drug can make drivers a little too confident and aggressive. The end result here is that drivers take risks that put themselves and others
- Ecstasy – The vision of the user can become distorted when on ecstasy, and they may also develop a sensitivity to light and sound, which is not great when driving.
- Cannabis – Driver’s tend to feel safe when driving under the influence of cannabis, but reaction times tend to slow down when weed is introduced.
Why Is Drug Driving on the Rise?
Police had a difficult time testing for drugs prior to 2015. When reasonable grounds for testing were in place, police could escort the driver to the nearest police station, where they would then undergo a blood test. Since 2015, police now have roadside drug test kits that allow them to test drivers for banned substances at the scene of the traffic stop.
What About After Accidents?
Tests were conducted 243 times following collisions, with 48 (19.9%) of the drivers involved found to be under the influence of illegal drugs. That number is more than high enough for advocates to call for the testing of every driver involved in a collision.
How Do Roadside Drug Test Kits Work?
The test begins with the police office taking a saliva swab of the driver, with said swab then placed into a cartridge that’s houses a chemical strip. The strip begins to change colour when it recognises the presence of illegal drugs. The test is usually completed in a manner of minutes, making it easy for officers to quickly tell if the driver is in violation of the law. The roadside drug test kits, or drugalysers, are able to detect 17 different illegal drugs. They can also detect prescription drugs that are most commonly used for anxiety and insomnia. Drivers found to be under the influence will get an immediate 1-year ban, as well as a huge fine.
Where to Buy a Roadside Drug Test Kit
Zoom Testing saliva drug testing kits screen for the same drugs as the new roadside drug test and can be bought online from our website. This test will screen for the same drugs of abuse that a police test will check for, including, Cannabis, Cocaine, Opiates, Amphetamines, Methadone & prescription drugs that can impair your driving ability (Benzodiazepines)
Drug Driving Facts
- A drug driving conviction can mean 6 months in prison, and a minimum 1-year ban from driving.
- Passing the roadside test does not necessarily get you off the hook, as police can still arrest you on suspicion of being under the influence of an illegal substance.
- As with drunk driving, a drug driving conviction will remain on your license for 11 years.