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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 September 2007, 00:00 GMT 01:00 UK
Push for drug-driving test kits
Drugs and car keys
Mr Aitken said 7% of young people admitted driving on drugs
The Scottish Government is pressing for the quick introduction of roadside drug testing kits, it has emerged.

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill confirmed he wanted to see the kits made available as soon as possible.

The move has been welcomed by the Conservatives in Scotland, who have been campaigning for the measure.

Mr MacAskill said the Home Office hopes to publish guidance this month on the types of device that would meet with official approval.

In a letter to Tory MSP Bill Aitken, the justice secretary writes: "It will then be for manufacturers to prepare devices in line with that specification and submit them to the Home Office for approval.

"I have asked my officials to make clear to the Home Office our wish for the approval process to be completed as swiftly as possible."

At long last we are making progress
Bill Aitken
Tory justice spokesman

Mr Aitken, the Tories' justice spokesman, said 7% of young people had admitted driving under the influence of illegal drugs and that one-in-three had been a passenger in a car driven by a driver on drink or drugs.

He added that a "drugalyser" is in use in Australia, and that the Tories have been "harrying" the parties at Holyrood and Westminster over the past year to introduce a similar scheme in the UK.

"At long last we are making progress," Mr Aitken said.

"Of course there is a long way still to go before the 'drugalysers' are actually in use and I would urge both our governments to ensure the implementation of this scheme is a priority.

"The sooner this equipment is available for use in Scotland, the better it will be for the safety of everyone on our roads."

The testing kits in Australia target amphetamines and ecstasy, as well as THC, the active ingredient in cannabis.

Police take a sample of saliva as a preliminary roadside test. If the test is positive, a further saliva sample will be analysed in a portable lab.


SEE ALSO
Study shows drug driving problem
25 Jul 06 |  Scotland
Police target drivers and drugs
22 Jun 06 |  North East/N Isles
Rise in drivers under influence
11 May 06 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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