REPRESENTATIVES of a Blyth company making roadside drug testing equipment have taken part in a conference in Bradford to help reduce road deaths through drugs.
The employees from Draeger Safety UK’s base at Blyth Riverside Business Park, attended a demonstration of equipment as part of the campaign for ‘Lillian’s Law’ – named after 14-year-old Lilian Groves, who was killed by a driver who had taken cannabis.
They joined Lilian’s parents as well senior police officers, inspecting the Drugalyser, developed by Draeger Safety UK, who pioneered the breathalyser when it was introduced in Britain.
The company is working in partnership with Basildon-based Modern Health Systems in preparing for roadside drug testing to be introduced in the UK, which could be as early as next year.
The Home Office is currently conducting trials of the Drugalyser and similar equipment which can detect drugs by analysing saliva.
Mark Burrup, drug and alcohol testing specialist at Draeger Safety UK, demonstrated the equipment at the event.
He said: “Much of the research we have carried out and have seen at Draeger Safety UK suggests that there are likely to be as many drug drivers on the roads as there are drink drivers.
“Any legislation that can help combat this worrying trend is very welcome.”
New legislation announced in the Queen’s Speech earlier this year will make it illegal to drive after taking certain drugs, removing the current requirement for the police to prove impairment.
The offence will carry a maximum penalty of six months in prison, a fine of up to £5,000 and an automatic 12-month driving disqualification.
Independent experts, brought together by the Department for Transport, are now deciding whether the new law should adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach or set clearly defined limits at which drug use is known to impair driving ability.