Company urges Government to act on official drug driving advice from North Review
Concateno Europes most experienced drug and alcohol testing provider has welcomed Sir Peter North CBE QCs recommendations for a step-by-step assault on drug-driving, and is urging Government to confirm its commitment to improving road safety with the rapid introduction of devices to detect and deter drug drivers.
The North Review was commissioned by the Department for Transport as an independent study. The first major evaluation of drink and drug driving law in 34 years, 16 of its 44 total recommendations relate specifically to drug driving a recognised, but still poorly understood, danger on roads.
Drawing on its extensive experience in helping to prevent drug driving in countries overseas, Concateno supports Sir Peter’s call for the earliest possible introduction of drug screening devices to identify those driving under the influence of illegal substances.
Concateno’s drug driving spokesperson, Iain Forcer, commented: “To enable this to happen, the Government will need to set down what devices should be capable of testing and how. Commercial suppliers such as Concateno will need to seek official confirmation that their testing devices fulfil this specification. Only then will police forces be able to adopt such technology to help improve safety on the roads.”
On approval, drug testing devices such as Concateno’s Cozart DDS which is already used in several other countries to detect drug driving could be introduced in police stations as a reliable, fast and easy-to-use check for those suspected of driving under the influence of illegal substances. If positive, this preliminary test would then be followed with a routine blood test (in a screening laboratory) to confirm or rule out the presence of a banned substance. Longer term, oral fluid mobile testing devices could be used at the roadside to determine drug driving, similar to the now widespread breathalyser testing methods used for drink driving.
“Our drug driving experience overseas demonstrates that using innovative and proven screening technology, combined with driver awareness campaigns, is a significant factor in deterring drug drivers and therefore in helping to improve road safety,” explained Iain.
He added: “We are absolutely committed to sharing this experience to help all involved in road safety in this country improve their understanding of the available solutions and how these might support their work.”
Concateno’s Australian experience
Concateno has been providing random roadside drug testing for the Australian police since 2004. The State of Victoria, which is at the forefront of the country’s road safety initiatives, was the first in the world to effect a change in legislation and allow random testing which is conducted using Concateno’s Cozart DDS device. Other Australian states have subsequently followed, including Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.
Since the introduction of the roadside testing regime in the State of Victoria, a clear trend can be seen with nearly a 50 percent reduction in the numbers of drivers confirmed as positive (1:44 in 2004, compared to 1:76 by the end of 2008).
“This means that fewer drivers are driving while taking drugs, indicating that a regime such as the one adopted by Australia is effective in reducing drug driving and contributing to safer roads. This significant impact has been due to an effective combination of press and other media awareness campaigns with an effective, highly visible roadside enforcement process, centred on a clearly defined offence,” explained Iain.
“We welcome Sir Peter North?s recognition of the drug driving issue and the role testing technology has to play in modern policy,? said Iain. ?Driving under the influence of drugs is a clear danger for road users today. It is time now for this Government to act to prevent this problem growing, and for our police to enforce these changes to ensure our roads are a safer place to be.”