Dozens of drug drivers caught after police launch new roadside tests

Cleveland Police officers launch their summer drink driving campaign by stopping motorists in Rossmere Wat, Hartlepool on Friday.

Cleveland Police officers launch their summer drink driving campaign by stopping motorists in Rossmere Wat, Hartlepool on Friday.

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Police across Cleveland and Durham have arrested dozens of drivers following the introduction of new roadside tests.

At the start of March legislation came in allowing officers to use a specialist piece of kit to take a mouth swab from anyone they believed to be driving under the influence of illegal drugs.

The wipe kit.

The wipe kit.

Low levels were set for a number of illegal substances, with higher levels set for eight prescription drugs, including morphine and methadone.

Since the new regulations took effect, officers working for the Cleveland and Durham Specialist Operations Unit, CDSOU, have made 53 arrests for the offences of ‘driving a vehicle whilst unfit through drugs’ or ‘driving a vehicle with a proportion of a specified controlled drug above the specified limit’.

Of the drivers arrested, 51 were male, two female and all but three were aged between 18 and 37.

The figures come as the unit, which covers both Cleveland and Durham force areas, joins the national summer campaign to target drivers who may be under the influence of either drink or drugs.

“Any driver we stop who we suspect to be under the influence of drugs, we will either test at the roadside with a DrugWipe kit or use a ‘Field Impairment’ test which assesses their ability to drive,” said Insp Wendy Tinkler of the CDSOU.

She said: “Casualty reduction is about saving lives, and making the roads safer for all those who use them.

“This campaign is part of the ongoing commitment the police and other agencies share to reduce needless deaths on our roads.”