A new campaign for the introduction of rapid drug testing after road accidents is being supported by a leading UK supplier of devices for rapid testing.
Concateno, formed by the merger of seven UK drug and alcohol testing specialists, is assisting the campaign for a law that would allow roadside drug testing of motorists involved in accidents.
A similar programme introduced in Australia has halved the incidence of driving under the influence of illegal drugs.
The company’s hand-held drug testing device, the DDS, can analyse a sample of oral fluids for six illegal drugs in five minutes. It won a Queen’s Award for Innovation in 2010.
The legislation demanded by the campaign has been named ‘Lillian’s Law’ after teenager Lillian Groves, who was killed by a car whose driver had been smoking cannabis. The driver escaped a conviction for driving under the influence of drugs because he was tested nine hours later.
Roadside drug testing, using rapid diagnostic tests of saliva, has been applied in several countries including Australia, Spain, Germany and Italy. In Victoria, Australia, it has seen the number of people driving under the influence of illegal drugs fall in five years from one in 44 to one in 94.
“In Australia, the use of roadside drug testing technology has proved extremely successful and has certainly helped to make our roads safer,” said Victoria’s Police Inspector, Martin Boorman.
Concateno spokesperson Iain Forcer commented: “Police in the UK are not allowed to use these devices that can quickly test drivers for drug use. Instead, they are required to carry out a lengthy Field Impairment Test which can take up to 30 minutes to complete, and few police officers are qualified to carry out these FIT assessments.”
This autumn, Concateno will attend two major UK conferences on transport security and traffic policing, as well the European DRUID conference on industry and innovation.
Concateno is a subsidiary of US company Alere, a specialist in rapid diagnostics.