Britain launches pre-Christmas campaign for greater road safety
The Department for Transport is not willing to simply accept the current high numbers of victims of accidents on British roads. For two years, its social media campaign THINK! has been raising awareness of road safety hazards on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. One central strand of THINK! is a campaign against drink and drug driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol has been a hot topic and a focal point for roadside testing for many years. However, the problem of driving under the influence of drugs is increasing in scale at a horrifying pace, with British authorities now estimating 200 road fatalities annually resulting from drug driving.
The prevention campaign’s ads and videos are aimed in particular at young men, as 62 percent of fatalities caused by drink driving belong to this demographic. As in previous years, the police forces in England and Wales are ramping up their roadside screening for both drink and drug driving in the run-up to Christmas 2017. Essex police are currently using the hashtag #Howitfeels on Twitter to publicise eye-witness accounts by officers who have fi rst-hand experience of dealing with fatalities
caused by drink driving or have had to inform families that a loved-one has died as a result of drug driving. Another key message is that police forces are now better equipped than ever before to deal with these problems. Roadside screening can accurately detect alcohol and drug consumption, which increases the likelihood of offenders being caught and prosecuted.
Legislative change and campaign are proving effective
March 2015 saw an amendment of British legislation in this area (Section 5A of the Road Traffi c Act 1988). Ever since, exceeding a specifi ed limit has constituted suffi cient evidence of a drink or drug driving offence. It is no longer necessary to prove, before a court of law, that the driver’s ability to drive a vehicle was impaired in each individual case. The pre-Christmas campaign of 2015 served as a resounding testimony to the ability of DrugWipe to reliably detect drug driving in roadside tests. The infl uence of illegal drugs was proven in almost half of all suspects tested and 98 percent of these cases resulted in a conviction.
Number of proceedings brought against drug drivers following the introduction of new legislation in 2015
Source of graphic: “Evaluation of the new drug driving legislation one year after its introduction” April 2017, page 34
In total, more individuals driving under the infl uence of drugs were apprehended in December 2015 than in the whole of the previous year. Some police units experienced an eight-fold increase in the number of drivers apprehended. DrugWipe has been rated as “very helpful” in surveys of police forces conducted by the Department for Transport. The saliva test delivers fast, unmistakable results – in contrast to the complicated process of testing fi tness to drive using coordination and perception tests.
Police forces in England and Wales are using DrugWipe as part of their pre-Christmas road safety campaign. The hygienic saliva test is easy to use, tamper-proof, precise and fast. It enjoys high levels of acceptance and has already proven effective in large-scale roadside screening operations.
Call now to fi nd out more about the detection options offered by DrugWipe rapid screening tests.
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