Drugs & Driving Licences

AND Breathalyser TestDid you know that more drivers have lost their licence in the province for being under the influence of drugs than for alcohol?

According to the figures for the first quarter of 2017, six drivers lost all the points on their driving licence for positive alcohol readings compared to seven for drugs. There are nineteen more, however, who lost all their points for having both.

But not all of these recorded incidents are just somebody getting caught at a road-check, but rather drivers who have been involved in an accident.

Some of the cases are, for example, a school bus driver who gave a positive reading for drugs; the Mayor of Hulelago who had to resign after testing positive at a road accident in which his passenger was killed.

This tendency is a growing concern. By comparison, during the whole of 2015 there was only one driver who lost all of his points for this reason. During 2016 it had risen to three drivers and here we are in 2017 where we have reached seven already.

On the other hand, testing for drugs as well as for alcohol is only a recent procedure, so who knows how many would have been caught in previous years had there been efficient checks in force.

Even by 2013 reliable tests were not available so it was impractical to ‘nail’ a driver if the police officer couldn’t prove that the driver was ‘under the influence of narcotics.’ The test only showed the presence in the blood stream but not whether the person was ‘under the influence;’ insufficient evidence under the law at the time.

It was a change in the law (6/2014) introducing a small change in terminology concerning the presence of drugs that allowed the traffic police to start fining; hence the increase in number of drivers losing points for having being caught with drugs in their blood stream.

Finally, we should point out that the figures mentioned at the beginning of article refer to drivers having lost all their points, then had their driving licence withdrawn, but many drivers have been caught, lost points, but not enough to lose their licence. So let’s give the full figures for people being caught but still managing to hang onto their licences: in 2015 2,069 were caught with alcohol to 521 caught with drugs (a 4:1 ratio) whereas in 2016 the ratio rose to 2:1.

Summing up: you can do a line of cocaine the night before, get stopped the next day after a night’s sleep and test positive and catch up to 1,000 euros in fines and six points off your licence.

(News: Granada, Andalucia)

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