Saliva tests for drivers

Friday, 14 January, 2005

Victorian police will start using saliva swabs to randomly test drivers for drugs. Police will test drivers for traces of cannabis and methamphetamine, known as 'speed' and used by long haul road transport drivers to stop them falling asleep at the wheel.

The saliva swab will also detect THC - the active metabolic in cannabis which stays in the system for up to three hours after use. Research has shown both these drugs significantly reduce a driver's psycho-motor skills. The saliva test will take a little longer than the breath test drivers undergo for alcohol. It may be done at the same time or independently. Victorian Police figures for 2001 show 22% of fatalities were caused by an increased use of drugs over the last 10 years.

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