Introduction of the Drugalyser - 4th March 2015

This week saw the introduction of the new drugalyser. As with suspected drink drivers the police will now be able to conduct a roadside test on a driver to prove whether they are driving under the influence of drugs.

The drugalyser takes a sample of saliva which it analyses to detect drugs present in the drivers system. Currently the kit identifies the presence of heroin, cocaine and cannabis, however if the test is negative, the police have the ability to arrest the driver if they suspect the use of other drugs. In these cases the driver will be taken to a police station for further tests to detect LSD, ecstasy and ketamine. Further development of the equipment is planned to enable testing of a wider range of drugs.

The penalty for being caught will be a driving ban for at least a year and up to £5,000 fine. The driver will also have a criminal record since drug use is a criminal offence. This, of course is if the driver is stopped and tested, if they are involved in an accident the outcome and penalties could be much greater, as could the possibility of loss of life to themselves or others.

Currently around 200 people a year are killed by drug drivers and it is hoped that the deterrent factor will minimise the number of driver willing to take the chance of getting caught. Many people believe that drug driving is currently a bigger problem than is being reported and it is the ability to prove it that has been missing, and of course the deterrent.
Prior to the introduction of the drugalyser this week, police suspecting a driver of driving under the influence of drugs would have to make an arrest and take the driver to a police station where they would be required to provide a blood sample for testing. The driver could refuse to give a blood sample on the grounds of medical or religious reasons making it difficult to prove and causing much wasted time.
Some prescribed drugs can be detected by the drugalyser and legal levels have been set for these. Drivers taking prescribed medication will not be prosecuted if they can provide proof of their prescription, however, they will  need to remain mindful of their fitness and ability to drive and stick to the prescribed usage to avoid being over the limit.

Many issues that feature in our news section may be of concern to you as an employer if you employ company drivers. It is important that you, as a company, are fully compliant with your responsibilities to those employees.

Fleetrisk24 Ltd specialises in Work Related Road Safety and Workplace Transport Safety and can help you put policies and processes in place to address your transport health and safety requirements.

For information about how we can help, in conjunction with you, manage your at work drivers, either:
Speak with an advisor on 01732 864999 or Email:

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