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14 January 2013, 14:37
Blyth-based Draeger Safety UK Ltd. has approval for a drug detection kit which will be used by police forces across the UK to identify drug driving.
The Dräger DrugTest 5000 will be used in police stations to detect cannabis.
A positive saliva test with the new device means officers will no longer have to call a doctor before asking for a blood sample if they suspect a driver of being on drugs.
The equipment went through rigorous testing at the Home Office's centre for applied science and technology (CAST).
Further developments are being made to detect other drugs which could impair drivers.
The approval comes 45 years after Dräger became the first company in the UK to get type approval on a breathalyser - the Alcotest 80 tube in 1967.
The testing kits are being introduced under a wider crackdown, which will see drug driving become a specific offence.
Offenders will face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000 as well as an automatic driving ban of at least 12 months.
A similar version of the Dräger DrugTest 5000 is already used by German police forces to identify most known illegal drugs such as amphetamines, opioids, cocaine, cannabis and drugs in the ecstasy group.