This from The Scotsman (http://news.scotsman.com/scotland.cfm?id=1083112006) :
Police call for a 'drug-breathalyser'
MORE reliable roadside tests are needed to crack down on "drug drivers", according to a Scottish Executive report which has found that more than one in ten motorists in Scotland have driven while under the influence of illegal substances.
Currently police carry out a physical examination of drivers to determine whether their senses are impaired by drugs, as no breathalyser-type device has been approved in the UK.
If motorists fail the roadside "preliminary impairment test" - which involves checking for dilated pupils, the driver's ability to walk in a straight line, and seeing whether the motorist can touch their nose with their finger - they have to have a blood test before they can be charged.
Researchers commissioned by the Executive found the absence of a scientific roadside test is encouraging people to drive after taking drugs, and called for police to be equipped with a more reliable test to deter offenders.
Their study found that 6 per cent of people admitted getting behind the wheel after taking drugs at some time in their lives. But the experts who compiled the report estimate that the real figure could be up to 11 per cent, because the increasing stigma attached to drug-driving means that people may not always admit to it.
The research, by experts at MORI Scotland, the centre for drugs misuse research at Glasgow University and Napier University's transport research institute, shows a slight drop in reported levels of drug-driving from five years ago.
Some drug drivers said a greater police presence on the roads would make them more wary about being stopped.
But the report added: "It was also apparent that drug drivers do not think the tests to detect drugs are sufficiently sensitive or accurate to catch them.
"A more reliable method for testing drivers is needed before an increased police presence would make any real impact."
The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) yesterday said it would welcome more reliable tools to detect drug-drivers.
At present it is not an offence to be driving with a certain level of drugs in the bloodstream, unlike with alcohol, where clear drink-drive limits have been set.
An ACPOS spokesman said: "The police currently have to prove impairment to drive, and that this was caused by drugs. We would like to see this loophole closed."
A spokesman for the Home Office said work was under way to provide a more reliable roadside test.
Tavish Scott, the transport minister, said:
" The effects can last for hours or even days. Our message is simple - drugs can affect your driving. It isn't worth the risk."
But Stewart Stevenson MSP, the SNP deputy justice spokesman, said the problem was not being treated seriously enough. "Previous research has shown that illegal drugs were present in nearly one in five drivers involved in fatal accidents."
Annabel Goldie, Tory leader also criticised the transport minister.
She said: "Offering a platitude such as 'drugs can affect your driving' is grossly inadequate. We are talking about potential death and injury caused by drug-impaired drivers - this is extremely serious."
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