Home Magazine Issue 01 Alcohol, Drugs and Testing

Alcohol, Drugs and Testing

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The rules are now entitled “Persons obliged to submit to alcohol detection testing”, and clarify lots of matters relating to the responsibilities of those required to submit to testing.

All vehicle drivers are obliged to submit to tests established for the detection of alcohol. Equally all other road users finding themselves implicated in a traffic accident or having committed an infraction under traffic, movement of vehicles and road safety rules.

To be clear, the rule now clearly covers drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and passengers, by the very virtue of the fact it covers “all other road users”.

Agents of the authorities in charge of traffic control may carry out these tests:

a) On any road user or vehicle driver implicated as possibly liable in a traffic related incident.

b) On anyone driving any vehicle with obvious symptoms, utterances or deeds which allow the reasonable presumption that they are under the influence of alcohol.

c) On those drivers or other road users who are reported for committing any of the offences contained in the rules of traffic, movement of vehicles and road safety.

d) On those who, while driving a vehicle, are required to by the aforementioned agents during prevention checkpoint programmes for alcohol detection.

Alcohol detection testing by means of exhaled breath.

1. Agents of the authorities in charge of traffic control will carry out alcohol detection tests on those drivers and other road users obliged by them, consisting of a test of exhaled breath by means of officially authorised breathalysers, which determine by a quantitative method the degree of alcoholic impregnation. At the request of the applicant, the test may be repeated by a different method which will preferably consist of a blood analysis, except when this may not be carried out due to exceptional valid reasons.

2. Where the obliged persons are suffering from wounds, illnesses or conditions whose seriousness impedes carrying out the tests, or where another exceptional valid reason impedes the carrying out thereof, a medical examination may be arranged for the individual or clinical analyses may be performed which the doctors deem to be most suitable for the purpose of the present law.” As for the rules regarding drugs, the first point makes it very clear indeed that drugs and driving do not mix.

The driver of any vehicle may not drive on the roads, subject to the legislation on traffic, movement of vehicles and road safety with drugs present in their system.

Those substances which are used under medical prescription and to a therapeutic end are excluded, always where the driver is found to be in a condition to use the vehicle which conforms to the duty of diligence, care and lack of distraction.

Prescription drugs can also affect driving and care should also be taken around these, checking the warnings on the packages or clarifying the situation with your doctor or pharmacist, making them fully aware that you intend to drive if appropriate. Every person who is found to be in a situation similar to those specified in the rules relating to the investigation of the presence of alcohol is also obliged to submit to drug testing.

In those cases where the subject tests positive for drugs, the agent may immediately proceed to immobilize the vehicle, in accordance with the established rules.

The test for the detection of drugs will consist of a saliva test by means of a device authorised for the purpose, and a later toxicology analysis of a saliva sample of a sufficient quantity.

Where the obliged persons are suffering from wounds, illnesses or conditions which seriously impede the carrying out of the tests, or where another exceptional valid reason impedes the carrying out thereof, a medical examination may be arranged for the individual or clinical analyses may be performed which the doctors deem to be most suitable, the preferred method being blood analysis.

The agent charged with carrying out the tests will inform the subject that for control purposes, the drug tests may be repeated, which will preferably consist of analysis of blood, in the nearest facility having adequate means of carrying out tests of this type.

If the agent in charge of carrying out the tests considers that the driver is under the influence of drugs, the suitable procedure under the Criminal Prosecution Law will be carried out.

The medical staff and the approved laboratories will be obliged, in all cases, to provide the results of the tests to the Chief of Traffic Police in the province where they have been carried out or, where appropriate, to the corresponding authority of the Autonomous Communities or municipalities. Infractions regarding driving with the presence of drugs in the system will be considered very serious.

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