21 Dec 2010

Value of drug-driver saliva testing questioned

9:00 pm on 21 December 2010

Environmental Science and Research (ESR) is warning of pitfalls in using saliva testing to identify drivers under the influence of drugs.

The Automobile Association and the anti-drug driving group the Candor Trust want police to be able to test saliva when randomly testing drivers for drugs.

As the law stands, officers can take a blood sample from a driver suspected of being under the influence of drugs but only if their driving is questionable and if, when stopped, they fail a basic motor skill test.

A forensic toxicologist at ESR, Helen Poulsen, says saliva testing doesn't work for all drugs, especially those swallowed whole or injected, and blood samples are more reliable.