Police in Northumberland are ramping up the fight to tackle motorists driving while under the influence of drugs.
And their battle is being aided by new laws and a new piece of testing equipment.
This is a major step forward and will support the police in their crackdown to bring drug-drive criminals to justiceMark Burrup, Dräger
Blyth-based international safety manufacturer Dräger has created the Dräger DrugTest 5000, which is helping police prosecute drivers caught over drug-driving limits.
A new law came into force on Monday giving police more powers to stop and test drivers at the roadside.
Now officers have been trained to use the new equipment which uses a driver’s saliva to test whether they have been taking drugs.
Northumbria Police motor patrols chief inspector John Heckels said: “A driver under the influence of drugs puts everyone on the roads at risk.
“Drug-driving is as serious an issue as drink-driving and we will look to identify and take action against anyone who thinks it is acceptable.
“Officers out on the roads will be equipped with the new kit and the new legislation, so anyone who does take drugs and then gets behind the wheel should be warned that officers are on the lookout for them and will take action to get them off our roads.”
Mark Burrup, Dräger’s regional segment manager, said: “We were delighted to receive Home Office approval for roadside usage of the Dräger DrugTest 5000.
“As new legislation comes into place the DrugTest 5000 will have an important role to play in reducing the number of drug-drivers on the road and the impact they have on the safety of others.
“This is a major step forward and will support the police in their crackdown to bring drug-drive criminals to justice.”
The Dräger DrugTest 5000 is already widely used by police forces around the country and the rest of the world, with around 2,000 sold in the UK and approximately 100,000 worldwide.
The device can store up to 400 individual measurements at any one time.
The new offence of ‘driving with certain drugs above specified limits’ has been introduced to help police catch those who put the lives of others at risk while driving under the influence of drugs.
The legislation has significantly lowered the acceptable limits of certain drugs in the blood stream and set a legal limit for officers to test people against.