SUSPECTED drug drivers are to be tested by officers for illegal substances for the first time in Sussex.
Officers will use drug testing equipment at stations to check if motorists they have arrested have taken illegal substances and then got behind the wheel.
It is the first time Sussex Police has used the equipment and shows the force’s commitment to dealing with all motorists who get behind the wheel while unfit.
Previously officers used what are known as field impairment assessments to determine if they believed a motorist had been taking substances.
They include looking at the reactions of the driver’s eyes as well as their balance and co-ordination.
They would have to get a doctor to do a blood test on the driver to test them for drugs.
The new equipment will allow officers to prove if they have taken cannabis in a matter of minutes using a simple swab.
Chief Inspector Natalie Moloney said: “Studies show that taking drugs and driving can be as dangerous as drinking and then getting into a car.
“There is simply no excuse for it.
“Before you get behind the wheel after taking drugs, ask yourself these simple questions. Can I afford to go to court and be banned from driving? Do I want to risk spending Christmas behind bars? Could I live with the guilt of killing someone because of my selfishness? Would my family cope without me?
“If the answer to any of those questions is no, you have the power to avoid facing those situations. Help us make Sussex’s roads safer this Christmas by steering clear of drug driving.”
Sussex Police Commissioner Katy Bourne welcomed the new measures She said: “I pledged to lobby Government to make driving under the influence of drugs as unacceptable as drink driving.