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Drugs tests in 2016 

The Interior Ministry has recently announced that on the behalf of the Guardia Civil DGT, they intend to carry out far more road-side drug tests during 2016 and in doing so will increase by an approximate 120,000 tests which will represent about an overall increase from that of the year 2015 of some 38%. This is of course aimed at making our roads safer for all drivers and as this is a relatively big problem in the cause of many accidents, one can see why the changes are being introduced.

The increase throughout Spain will be that approximately 45,000 more tests will be made when compared to those figures and tests carried out during 2015. This is in line with the Strategic Plan for Road Safety 2010/2020, with special priority in areas of activity that the agency has defined as a priority for the, what is known as “zero vision” in relation to the use of drugs and of course alcohol before driving. I am sure we will all have noticed over the festive period more Guardia Civil Traffic police stopping drivers randomly, not only at night time, and doing tests on the road side.

To assist the Guardia Civil in this programme the DGT has been given a budget of 12 million euros specifically for the purchase of drug testing kits and various supplementary materials that will be necessary, as well as the recruitment of laboratory services for the analysis of such samples when necessary. This of course can only be a good thing despite the fact that drivers do not like random checks or stoppages made by the Police checks, it can only result, one hopes in making our roads safer for the drivers and their passengers.

There has been a recent survey carried out and published where 59% of the drivers who had committed an offence and had been tested for the use of drugs, had given a positive reading which in itself is a high percentage. Also some 33% of drivers tested at random preventative controls had also tested positive for drug use. We must remember of course that some prescription medications do carry warnings about driving and may in some cases have a bearing on the test results, hence why you should always read the instructions when taking medication.

An annual report by the National Institute of Toxicology who provided statistics showed that 39,09% of deceased drivers who had been analysed (614 people in total throughout Spain) had tested positive for drugs, alcohol or psychotropic medication being shown in the samples. In the cases of pedestrians on whom the analysis had been carried out, a total of 173, the figures increased to 40%, not a substantial increase.

It has been noted that in saliva tests carried out for detecting drugs in drivers has had a deterrent effect, as has that with the introduction of alcohol testing. Many people rely on their driving licence for work, whether they have a driving related job or it’s merely a form of transport to get to and from work quicker than by public transport. The increase in these controls has resulted in a reduction of at least 17% in the numbers of traffic incidents.

The Ministry is currently investigating further developments, as yet which have not been made public, for the training and more awareness of the often severe and fatal use of drugs and alcohol use and is to encourage regional and municipal authorities to also increase the testing and awareness on the country’s minor roads and dual carriageways.

The best course of action for all drivers therefore, as most already know and do, is not to drink at all before driving and to avoid drug taking of illegal substances and taking great care with prescription medication.