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New drug-drive test could help save lives
A road safety campaigner has welcomed news that a roadside drug test kit could be made available to police before the end of this year.
The new drugs testing devices - labelled "drugalysers" - will mean that police who suspect a motorist of being high on illicit substances will no longer need a doctor's permission to take a blood test for use as evidence in later court proceedings.
Joanna Bailey, a spokesperson for road safety charity Brake and an expert in road collision injuries, said it was high time the tests were introduced. "This is an issue that has been in need of attention for a long time," said Joanna, a partner with Fentons Solicitors LLP.
"As personal injury specialists we see all too regularly the devastating consequences of people driving under the influence of drink and drugs. The issue is such a problem that Brake's Road Safety Week 2009 was focused on calling on all drivers to commit to not drink even a drop of alcohol before driving, nor take even a drag on a joint or any other illegal drug," she said.
The first "drugalysers" are expected to be ready in September, and will initially be for use only in police stations. But the Government has pledged a further £300,000 to develop a device that police can use at the roadside.
"The new equipment will enable police to more easily target and prosecute the irresponsible drivers who put the lives of pedestrians and other road-users at such risk," said Joanna. "Recent studies show that 10 per cent of drivers between the ages of 18 and 29 have admitted driving after taking illegal drugs - perhaps these new tests will make those irresponsible people think twice before getting behind the wheel and endangering their lives and the lives of others."
It is believed the new devices would allow police officers to use a swab to take a sweat or saliva sample which could then lead to an immediate blood test. The first "drugalysers" are expected within months, and a Home Office spokesman said he expects a final specification to be approved for roadside use by the end of September.
"The introduction of these devices should help curb the number of drug-drivers and subsequently help reduce the number of people killed on our roads every year," said Joanna. "Anything which can discourage people from being so thoughtless and irresponsible can only be a good thing."
How can Fentons Solicitors help?
Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of road traffic collisions.
If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire.
Source: Sky News
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