Skip to main content

Driving Under Influence: Drugs

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress has been made in the development of a roadside impairment testing apparatus for use in the identification of drug use by drivers. (165189)

Following extensive development work with manufacturers and other independent experts, the Forensic Science Service aims to issue by Christmas a specification for a drug screening device. The purpose of the device will be to test for the presence in a driver’s person of any of six drug types above specified levels. These drug types are known to be capable of causing impairment. It will then be for manufacturers to prepare a device in line with the specification and submit it for type approval. Type approval is necessary before the police can use a device for drug-driving enforcement.

The police are already conducting impairment tests using a prescribed Field Impairment Testing regime. The HO Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB) has been considering possible improvements to this regime and intends to pursue these in discussion with the Department for Transport. HOSDB has also been investigating the possible development of an impairment measuring device and is keeping in close contact with others working in this area. Funding has now been agreed for work to be taken forward in partnership with a suitable university or other outside agency.