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Massive Increase in Drug Tests This Year

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The Interior Ministry has announced that on behalf of the DGT the Guardia Civil intend to carry out more than 120,000 drug tests on drivers during 2016, representing an increase of 38% over 2015.

This increase of more than 45,000 tests compared to those in 2015 is in line with the Strategic Plan for Road Safety 2010-2020 and especially with one of the five areas of activity that the agency has defined as a priority for the “zero vision” in relation to the use of drugs and alcohol before driving.

In order to perform these tests, the DGT has a budget of 12 million euro specifically for the purchase of drug testing kits and supplementary materials, as well as the recruitment of laboratory services for the analysis of samples.

In the most recent data published, 59% of the drivers who had committed an offence and tested for the use of drugs gave a positive reading. Similarly, 33% of drivers tested at preventive controls were also positive for drug use.

In addition, in the annual report from the National Institute of Toxicology, statistics revealed that 39.09% of the deceased and analysed drivers (614 in total) had alcohol, drugs or psychotropic medication present in their blood. For pedestrians analysed (173), this figure rises to 40%.

It has been found that the saliva test for detecting the presence of drugs in drivers has had a deterrent effect, as was also the case with the introduction of alcohol testing. The increase in these controls among drivers, has already represented a reduction of at least 17% in the number of traffic incident.

The ministry is also investigating further developments in training and awareness of the dangers of drug and alcohol use and is encouraging regional and municipal authorities to also increase testing and awareness on the country´s minor roads.

Alberto Espada

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