Government must not take wrong turn in setting up drug driving expert panel

With regards to the Expert Panel being set to examine a new offence for drug driving in the UK http://www.dft.gov.uk/news/stories/dft-news-20120104, Dene Baldwin, Technical Director, Concateno comments that:

“We welcome today’s announcement that the Government will establish a panel of experts to consider introducing a new offence of driving under the influence of drugs. However we are concerned that a primary focus of the panel will be to decide what levels of drugs in the body cause impairment.

“To address levels of drug use that cause impairment is the wrong focus as it could quite easily take another decade of deliberation.

“It is clear that this approach worked for alcohol but to gather the same information for commonly misused drugs is much more complex. For alcohol it was relatively straightforward: it is a single entity and legal to administer to volunteers which has allowed the generation of a large database on which conclusions regarding impairment can be based. The situation for illegal drugs is much more difficult, and everyday factors including poly-drug use (the mixing of “upper” and “downers”) will have an influence on impairment. UK roadside drug projects have been around since the 1990’s – we already know the answer. The UK needs a zero tolerance law for drugs already known to cause impairment.”

Current research indicates that driving under the influence of drugs is as serious a problem as drink-driving. Concateno also supports road safety charity Brake, and their message that the Government needs to implement a roadside drug testing programme now, using already-available mobile drug testing kits. Concateno recently launched the DDS2, a hand held mobile drug testing device which can test for the presence of six drugs in oral fluid samples in five minutes.

If you would like further comment, additional information on DDS2 or a chat with Concateno, then please do get in touch.

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