The Dundee Police will now be able to determine whether a driver is intoxicated with cannabis or cocaine (and others drugs) within minutes, thanks to their new saliva kits.
If the driver tests positive, their blood sample will then be sent for analysis to check for 17 different controlled drugs according to the limits set under new drug driving legislation. If in case the blood sample comes back positive, the driver will be charged with drug driving, under section 5(a) of the Road Traffic Act 1988.
“80% of all drug users consume a combination of drugs and the majority of them use cannabis or cocaine,” PC Aileen Walker, of road policing management support at Police Scotland, said. “These saliva tests bestow us with the power to immediately instruct a medical professional to take a blood sample, instead of waiting for the driver to be assessed by a doctor first, as is current practice.”
Conventionally, it can sometimes take several hours for a doctor to attend a driver and take their blood sample, which implies that someone who is just over the limit can drop below the limit during the delay.
“The new equipment, though, speeds up the entire process and reduces the odds of that happening.”
Reportedly, two different devices will be piloted across Scotland, before the final orders are placed for purchasing the equipment.
How does the saliva test work?
The test is run over the tongue of the driver and displays the result on a small display panel – just like a pregnancy test. The second device, however, takes a swab from the driver’s mouth, which is then placed into a testing machine.
If the saliva test gives a positive result, the person’s blood sample is sent for further evaluation. The narcotics that fall under the new legislation, include speed, cannabis, heroin, cocaine, Valium, ketamine, LSD, MDMA, meth and benzoylecgonine – the compound your body breaks cocaine down into. Furthermore, a few prescription drugs have also found their place on the list, viz. morphine, methadone and temazepam.
Notably, each detected drug is a separate offense and will count for an individual charge.
Once implemented, Scotland will boast of the UK’s most robust laws against unsafe and impaired driving.