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Police clampdown on drug driving

  • Police to launch crackdown on drug-driving
  • Problem is more widespread than figures suggest
  • Officers to get hand-held drug detectors

The police are to launch a crackdown on drug drivers after a report said the problem is much more widespread than official figures suggest.

Officers are to be equipped with hand-held devices to test drivers to see if they are under the influence of illegal drugs. Trials of these hand-held drug devices will begin in September with all police stations expecting to be equipped with them by 2012.

The move comes after an report commissioned by the Government stated that the problem of drug driving is 'out of all proportion' with official statistics.

According to official figures from 2008, the last available, 1,644 people were convicted of drug driving compared to around 71,000 who were convicted of drink driving.

The Government is now planning trials of hand-held drug detectors which could be rolled out across police forces within two years.

The new devices will either take a sample of hair or saliva to check for illegal drugs in the suspect's system.

This will cut down on the hassle and time involved in the current drugs checking procedure that involves calling a doctor to come to a police station and take a blood sample.

This has made detecting and prosecuting drug driving much more difficult than drink driving, hence the suggestion that the problem is far more widespread than the statistics say.

News of the trial comes in the same week as the Department for Transport revealed that drink-drive fatalities had fallen below 400 a year for the first time since records began. In 2009 380 people were killed as a result of drink-driving - down 5% on 2008.