New drug tests for drivers in Alpes-Maritimes

The authorities in Nice are using quick and reliable new saliva tests that no longer need the verification of a blood test

27 July 2017
By Carmen Cracknell

110 gendarmes from the Escadron départemental de sécurité routière (EDSR) squad have been equipped with 800 new narcotics saliva detection kits.

The kits can detect cannabis, cocaine, opiates, ecstasy and amphetamines.

If drugs are found to be present in the first test, a second saliva test is conducted, without the need for any blood testing.

The authorities in Nice believe there are now more people driving under the influence of drugs than alcohol.

Gendarmes will use the tests only if they observe suspicious behaviour at the wheel. The telltale signs of drug use include excessive speed or slowness, a delayed question response time and an unusual eye appearance.

“Cannabis and cocaine have very visible effects but notably ecstasy, not so much,” said captain Rouzier, head of the EDSR in Nice.

July 2017 was the deadliest month on the roads of the Alpes-Maritimes since 2009, with 8 deaths since the beginning of the month.

“813 people have been injured and 36 killed since the beginning of 2017,” said Alpes-Maritimes prefecture secretary Jean-Gabriel Delacroy.

Drug use was thought a factor in 23% of road deaths in France in 2015.

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